Senate debates

Monday, 18 October 2021


Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment (Equity Investments and Other Measures) Bill 2021; In Committee

6:44 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I'd like speak on amendment (1) on sheet 1406. I'll speak briefly to it, in addition to any comments that my colleague Senator Cox would like to make. This is an amendment that's been circulated in my name that says that Efic, or EFA, the subject of this bill, should not be giving money to fossil fuel infrastructure. It's somewhat reminiscent of the discussion that we had when we were debating the northern Australia infrastructure bill, the NAIF bill, where, likewise, this government sought to allow equity investment to be made by that investment vehicle. This is a similar bill. It wants Efic to be able to take an equity stake in projects but, also, there's no prohibition on such investment being made in fossil fuel infrastructure. We are concerned that this bill will facilitate yet another body simply investing public dollars and taking an equity stake in fossil fuel projects.

This is five seconds before Glasgow. This is when we are in a climate emergency, and it is somewhat distressing, but perhaps not surprising, to hear the opposition say they're worried that this will stop the Commonwealth from funding airports. That is not, in fact, the case. The drafting of the amendment is very clear. This would apply to the Export Finance Insurance Corporation. As we previously said when the NAIF bill was up for debate, we do not think governments should be taking an equity stake in fossil fuel infrastructure, and we do not think taxpayer dollars should be used to fund fossil fuel infrastructure. So the intent of this first amendment, amendment (1) on sheet 1406, is to do just that: it would cover coal, oil, petroleum, natural gas and by-products related to that.

It's a very simple choice for the chamber to make. Do you want public money to prop up fossil fuels and government to be taking an equity stake in fossil fuel projects or don't you? I'm looking forward very much to the vote on this one, because this is a crucial point of distinction. I think the Australian public expects that the opposition—but perhaps not this government—would not be supporting public money and an equity stake being taken by a government in fossil fuel projects. I commend this amendment to the House.


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