Clean Energy Future legislation - Consideration in Detail

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (21:53): I rise to oppose the opposition's amendment to the Clean Energy Bill 2011 and related bills before us tonight. It is an amendment about timing. I want to reiterate some important words to the House. I will quote the policy to be accurate. It says: We have an obligation to manage climate change responsibly on behalf of future generations, so that our prosperity today is a legacy they too can enjoy tomorrow. The Australian economy depends more on fossil fuels for its wealth generation and power supply than most developed economies and we are a significant supplier of energy to the world. Adjusting to a carbon-constrained economy will entail costs. We cannot change the structure of our economy overnight and we need to manage the transition with care.

Yet, as well as costs, the same transition will also present new opportunities. We are richly endowed with natural assets that will be valuable in a carbonconstrained world—

(Quorum formed)

I will continue as I was quoting: We are richly endowed with natural assets that will be valuable in a carbon-constrained world, including high-quality geological and biological sequestration sites, large uranium reserves and abundant renewable energy resources, including geothermal energy opportunities. An important component of Australia’s climate change policy is developing key low emissions technologies to realise these opportunities.

Climate change is a global problem and Australia cannot solve it alone. The multi-faceted response set out in this document will ensure Australia leads the world in our domestic approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and is a key player in effective international responses to climate change. Those were the words of July 2007, which the member opposite sought to interrupt, and they were the words of John Howard. In July 2007 John Howard understood, and those opposite who were in government at the time understood, that it was important for Australia to play its role in leading the world on an important new challenge that the world faced, as we have done generation after generation on important issues that challenged and faced the world. Those opposite now would have us believe that the Australian people are not up to this task. They are up to this task.

I want to put before the House an event that I attended yesterday with my colleague the member for Throsby.

We had the opportunity to attend the Gujarat NRE No. 1 colliery site at Russell Vale in my electorate.

We were celebrating the positioning of new longwall machinery, valued at $90 million, in conjunction with Joy Manufacturing, a production and manufacturing company in my colleague the member for Throsby's electorate. It is a really important commitment by Gujarat NRE, an Indian mining company in our area.  It shows their faith and commitment to the future of mining in our region. It is an important opportunity to create— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): The honourable member's time has expired.

Ms Bird: Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek a second call.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The honourable member has the opportunity to seek a second call. However, the practice of the House is to alternate speakers from one side to the other. If the honourable member chooses to stand when it is next the government's opportunity, I will look upon her with favour, as indeed I would with all members on my right or my left. The call is now given to the Second Deputy Speaker, the Honourable member for Maranoa.