Monday, 22 August 2011
Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Bill 2011, Carbon Credits (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011, Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Bill 2011; In Committee
We have already stated in the House that the government will seek the advice of the CSIRO, as it is a valuable organisation and we value their advice, when reviewing the adequacy of the risk of reverse buffer adequacy. But let us be clear: the government's plan for the Clean Energy Future includes the establishment of a climate change authority which will review the CFI. The government will continue to, and always have, value the advice of the CSIRO and the Productivity Commission in relation to climate change policies. They will have an opportunity when the CFI is reviewed. But the government do not agree with putting it in the legislation in the way outlined by Senator Xenophon. It calls for the CSIRO to undertake the review in conjunction with the Productivity Commission, so there is no choice about that. They would both have to undertake the review. It does not say how they would do that. It does not say what the terms of reference would be. It does not say what they would be looking at, such as the terms of reference and, of course, it does not give them any underpinning to undertake it.
It is a much better course for the government to follow its plan—that is, for the Clean Energy Future—which includes the establishment of the Climate Change Authority, independent of government, which will review the efficacy of the CFI. In 1B you have also included:
The Minister must ensure that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Productivity Commission are provided with sufficient additional resources to conduct any such review.
But it does not say how that would be done. These would be budget decisions. They may not amount to much in financial outlay; nonetheless, I can see you are trying to set up a scheme which provides a type of review which, the government says, creates too much specificity and does not allow an appropriate review to be done at the appropriate time. In that way, even if your amendment were successful, the Climate Change Authority would still undertake a review of the CFI. In doing that, you would also be creating additional work that the CSIRO and the Productivity Commission would need to do and you could end up, effectively, with a double-up. For all those reasons, we do not support the amendment.