Senate debates

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Bills

Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016; In Committee

10:00 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

Again, I hardly agree with anything that you have suggested there. I do not agree with your characterisation of the quality of the investments. But the point I would make—

Senator Waters interjecting—

Hang on. By putting $800 million to ARENA for grants funding, you do not even have to have a commercial return. Talk about high-risk investments.

Senator Waters interjecting—

So you are not interested in the fact that we are putting $800 million back for grants funding. The Greens are not interested in that. You want to have your cake and eat it too. Instead of us putting $800 million back in, you want us to put $1.6 billion back in. Guess what: it does not work that way. You cannot spend the same money twice. Maybe the Greens can spend the same money over and over, but you know what? We are acting in good faith. We have sat down with the Labor Party in good faith. We have agreed to absolutely leave the capital for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation intact at $10 billion and on top of that we have agreed to restore $800 million in grants funding to ARENA which, of course, was previously subject to a savings measure.

If you want to talk about high-risk investments, you cannot have an opportunity for higher risk investment than when you provide a grant, because, when you provide a grant, you literally give it away irrespective of what happens. If you talk about the fact that we now have a requirement for lower risk profile as a result of the money that is invested here, that is just plain wrong.

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