Thursday, 15 September 2016
Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016; In Committee
I can indicate that I and my colleagues Senators Griff and Kakoschke-Moore will be supporting this amendment. Even though the cut is still happening—we acknowledge that there will still be a fund but cut significantly—we are still very concerned that the solar thermal plant at Port Augusta, essential for that community, in one of the sunniest places in the world, ought to still proceed. I hope against hope there will still be enough funds for that solar thermal baseload power plant to continue.
I have a question of the minister in respect of this, and it follows from the second reading amendment that I moved that was defeated recently. Can the minister advise whether there are any plans on the part of the government to allow—by regulatory amendment, for instance—ARENA to make investments or to have a grant convert, in the event that it is a highly successful project, to be either repaid or get an equity in it? Is that something that has been discussed with the board of ARENA with a view to replenishing the fund in the event that there has an investment in a technology that takes off commercially?