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

10:03 am

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Murray Darling Basin) Share this | Hansard source

We are picking up from the debate on Friday in relation to this amendment for the landfill gas sector. I have done one better than to speak with Senator Xenophon. I have had the fortune this morning of speaking with Evelyn Ek from his office, who from time to time provides great guidance to many of us in this place on serious issues. Let us remind ourselves that this is an amendment which Senator Xenophon and the coalition have pursued to ensure the landfill gas sector is protected from any perverse or adverse outcomes under this legislation. It is a big issue. We are talking about more than 4,500 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent gases that were recovered or destroyed in 2009 from waste in landfills. Many of those projects could be at risk or at threat of discontinuance should we get this legislation wrong or should the government get the implementation of this legislation wrong. We want to make sure that that outcome is avoided.

I join with Senator Xenophon in thanking Senator Milne for her initial support of the issues raised and ensuring that industry was able to engage in some discussions with the government. It is equally my understanding, having spoken to some of the industry players as well as Ms Ek, that the industry has had further discussions with government, that there is an agreed pathway forward for how the methodology and the time line will be developed and the base lines that will be considered as part of that process.

We want as many guarantees and as much information on the record as the minister is able to provide as to what the guarantees provided to industry are. I posed some questions to the minister on Thursday about how he thought he could achieve the timing that Senator Milne had alluded to and that he had alluded to in the debate on Thursday. If he could for the benefit of the chamber and the record provide us with the detail of the time line for discussions with industry and finalisation of the methodology, the approach that is going to be applied to the base line in this regard and the government's understanding of what this will mean for the existing projects, that would certainly assist us in hopefully proceeding with this debate, dealing with this amendment and, most importantly, providing certainty for early adopters and early movers who have invested significantly and done so much to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas that comes off landfill gas facilities.

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