Senate debates

Monday, 22 August 2011

Bills

Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Bill 2011, Carbon Credits (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011, Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Bill 2011; In Committee

10:30 am

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

Perhaps you will forgive me for using an example. One type of weed in one paddock might be a threat to food production. One project is to eliminate that weed in that paddock. It may or may not be a threat to food production. It may be specifi­cally a threat to that farm's food production, but when you look broadly at all the arable land, if that weed is only in that one paddock, it is not a threat because it is one weed in one paddock. If you aggregate that you can say: 'This weed in many paddocks across all the arable land might be a material risk. Therefore we need to address it.' I am trying to describe that what you are talking about, as I understand it, is individuals, whereas I am talking about types—a type of weed aggregated across. In other words, that is the only way you can assess whether or not it has an impact. That is a poor way of trying to make it concrete.

The challenge always is that—forgive this analogy—if you look within the weeds, you will not see the bigger picture. The bigger picture is the aggregation across this area. That is why we use types. A type of weed may not be a material risk to food production, but the aggregation of that—in other words, a significant number—then may be. I am trying to use a different way of explaining it to you to give you some confidence that this is the way forward, not the way that you have sought to put in your amendment. I am trying to show why we have chosen the path that we have chosen, why we have confidence in the way the negative list will work and why you cannot use individual circumstances. Each of them on their own may not actually amount to a material risk, whereas if you aggregate it and look at the type it may in fact do that. I will pause there and see if we can progress it.

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