House debates

Wednesday, 3 July 2024


Future Made in Australia (Omnibus Amendments No. 1) Bill 2024; Second Reading

9:25 am

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

Today, I am proud to introduce the Future Made in Australia (Omnibus Amendments No. 1) Bill.

The bill steps out how we will put the discipline and rigour established under the Future Made in Australia Bill into practice: by expanding the roles of Export Finance Australia and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency so that they can make investments consistent with our National Interest Framework and to empower these agencies to help meet our Future Made in Australia goals—to attract and facilitate more private sector investment and ensure private capital is deployed in the national interest.

This bill contains two schedules.

The first will allow the government to make investments through Export Finance Australia in a way that is aligned with the National Interest Framework.

The changes in the bill mean that Export Finance Australia will be able to support a broader range of domestic transactions aligned with our National Interest Framework.

Export Finance Australia can already of course invest domestically in support of Australia's exports.

It's playing a pivotal role in growing Australia's vital critical minerals industry—overseeing the government's $840 million investment to build Australia's first combined rare earths mine and refinery in the Northern Territory and building domestic capabilities like quantum computing that will unlock future industries for Australia.

This change will expand that role even more.

Projects coming forward for financing will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

And not only will these investments need to meet the strict and rigorous criteria established under this bill.

They will also be assessed by Export Finance Australia's expert team of investment analysts and must meet the high bar expected of Export Finance Australia's independent board, before they are referred to government for a decision.

The second schedule will expand the role of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and help drive Australia towards our renewable energy superpower goal.

ARENA is of course a highly respected agency with a proud Labor legacy, a creation of the last Labor government. It has a strong track record of supporting the commercialisation of Australian innovation needed not only to address climate change but to capitalise on the huge economic and jobs opportunities that tackling climate change represents for our renewable rich nation.

We are building on this record of success and we will allocate $6 billion in statutory funding for ARENA for renewable energy investments over the next 15 years.

A large amount will be used to establish the Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund to commercialise innovative technologies critical to net zero in areas like green metals, batteries, low carbon liquid fuels and clean technology manufacturing.

And funding will also go to establishing the Solar Sunshot and Battery Breakthrough Initiatives, and providing long-term funding certainty for ARENA's ongoing priorities.

This 15-year funding will help ARENA invest in lasting, forward-looking opportunities, and we're legislating it, so that the funding is above the cut and thrust of the annual budget cycle.

These changes enhance governance at Export Finance Australia and ARENA, making the Minister for Finance a responsible minister for both agencies, alongside existing relevant ministers, as is appropriate, and allowing ARENA to employ its own staff to make it easier to draw in other expertise when needed.

To transform our economy and grasp the vast opportunities of the energy transition, sizeable amounts of public investment will be deployed by both these agencies.

And our goal here is for this public investment to catalyse private sector investment in a much greater quantity in the national interest.

This bill works together with the Future Made in Australia Bill and sets us up to become an indispensable part of the global net zero economy.

The Future Made in Australia Bill lays the foundations upon which our entire agenda will be built—embedding into law the strict criteria and robust processes that will guide our decisions and set us up for success.

This omnibus bill will allow key government agencies to put their shoulders to the wheel—to help make investments that put our agenda into action, underpinned by the discipline and rigour the first bill rightly demands.

And there will be more legislation and consultation to come, as the Treasurer has indicated—like for our hydrogen and critical minerals production tax credits, which will need to be legislated once we've consulted with stakeholders and bedded down the finer implementation details.

But everything we do from here will be built on top of the solid foundations in the legislative package the Treasurer and I are proud to introduce to the House today.

A great transformation is underway.

Australian energy can power it.

Australian resources can build it.

Australia's regions can drive it.

Australian researchers can shape it.

And Australian workers can thrive in it.

That's what these bills are all about.

That's the future we can make together, right here in Australia.

Full details of the measure are contained in the explanatory memorandum. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.