Senate debates

Thursday, 12 November 2015


OECD Coal Subsidies

12:36 pm

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

I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 935 in the terms circulated in the chamber, at the request of the opposition.

Leave granted.

I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a)   notes:

(i) the importance of transitioning to lower polluting forms of energy generation,

(ii) that the United States of America (US) and Japan have agreed to limit Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development (OECD) subsidies to the most efficient types of coal power plants,

(iii) the fact that subsidies from the OECD export credit agencies to coal fired power stations in developing nations constitute an obstacle to the transition to clean energy in those nations, and

(iv) reports that the Turnbull Government is set to block a proposal from the US and Japan to remove OECD export credit subsidies for the dirtiest coal fired power stations in developing nations; and

(b) calls on the Turnbull Government to support the proposal from the US and Japan to exclude the dirtiest coal fired power stations from receiving OECD export credit subsidies..

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

The government does not support this motion. It is erroneous on several fronts and totally misrepresents Australia's position. The first point to note is that export credit agencies do not provide subsidies but loans on commercial terms. The second point is that Australia is in ongoing negotiations with OECD parties on this issue, and these are continuing in a constructive fashion. The third point is that Australia's objective is to ensure that developing countries have access to the best high-efficiency, low-emissions technology at the cheapest possible price to support development and alleviate poverty. The International Energy Agency predicts energy demand in South-East Asia will grow by 80 per cent by 2040, with their share of coal in power generation rising from 32 per cent to 50 per cent. Around 1.2 billion people globally are without electricity. The reality is that in countries like India, where something like 300 million people are without reliable and efficient power, coal will be part of the energy mix for many years to come.

Photo of Gavin MarshallGavin Marshall (Victoria, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that general business notice of motion No. 935 be agreed to.