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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Speech SECOND READING Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014 Monday, 1 September 2014 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (17:17): The Australian Renewable Energy Agency, ARENA, is an organisation that is helping Australia become a leader in the renewable energy sector. It is a sector that is set to expand rapidly across the globe. ARENA is investing in renewable energy projects, supporting research and development activities and supporting activities to capture a share of knowledge. To date, it has funded 192 projects by allocating $938 million to their funding. This has produced projects that are worth $2.6 billion, and the fund has $2.5 billion to spend on projects. After extensive discussions with former US Vice-President Al Gore, the Palmer United Party is determined to vote in the Senate against this bill that will wipe out ARENA. By doing so, the Palmer United Party will also be preventing the Abbott government from breaking yet another election promise. Renewable energy is a growth industry and renewable energy is a rapidly expanding industry that is investing billions of dollars at a time when investment in other areas of the economy is waiting. It has created $20 billion of investment already and could generate another $14.5 billion out to 2020, simply if the government kept its election promises. But the government wants to kill ARENA and has commissioned its hand-picked friend Dick Warburton to try to kill the renewables industry via an assault on the renewable energy target. Mr Warburton’s report is dead on arrival. In its promises before the election the government made itself very clear that there would be no changes to the renewable energy target. The Prime Minister said in 2011: ‘We have no plans to change the renewable energy target.’ The Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, and the then energy spokesman, Ian Macfarlane, said before the election: The coalition is not proposing and has not proposed any changes to the target… Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, said: Can I make clear, the Coalition supports the current RET system, including the 41,000 GWh target. Palmer United is ready to hold the government to account and to vote down any changes along the lines recommended by Mr Warburton. That is why his report is dead on arrival. I note Mr Warburton has chosen to personally attack me in the Financial Review, saying that I was engaged in ‘crazy’ and ‘dumb’ politics because the Palmer United Party was opposing 75 per cent of the government’s agenda. I will not return the personal insult to Mr Warburton, but I will say we are proud to oppose many of the government’s proposals—especially and particularly those like Mr Warburton is proposing that would harm Australian families and business. On the price effects of the RET, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Dick Warburton and his team in taking six months, spending $6 million and reading 23,000 submissions to reveal what we already knew: the RET brings new companies with cheaper prices into the market. It looks like the only winners from this proposal will be the big The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 93


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