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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Roundtable
25 March 2003

Speech Transcript: Renewable and Sustainable Energy

Thank you very much Peter and could I say that I was very pleased to hear from Peter just recently the breadth of participation in the roundtable and the valuable role that the roundtable has to contribute to the Government's consideration of renewable and sustainable energy. And the renewable and sustainable industry members that have come together today, I am sure are going to make a very useful input to the Government through the Australian Greenhouse Office and other means.

I know that Howard Bamsey has spoken to you this morning and I strongly support the sentiments that he has expressed. The Government sees that the Greenhouse Office plays a very critical role in helping us move ahead on these key issues of Greenhouse gas emissions and how we can give this country a lower greenhouse gas signature.

I would like to take this opportunity this morning to thank the industry here for the input that it is providing to the dialogue that we are having with industry. Minister Macfarlane and myself are very keen to have a successful outcome to that dialogue and I know that you have been contributing to that and I want to thank you for your participation and the inputs that you make.

I would like to this opportunity this morning to make some announcements that maybe of interest to you. The first announcement concerns some new grants under the Renewable Energy Industry Development program and my colleague, Ian Macfarlane, and I are releasing the public information about these grants today.

We are funding some nine major renewable energy projects with around $1 million dollars of Commonwealth funding. These projects cover everything from assessing the impact of wind turbines on birds and bats, to options for converting pig waste to electricity. The projects have been funded under Round 7 of the Commonwealth Government's Renewable Energy Industry Development program.

Amongst the grants that have been funded is a project by Standards Australia to work with the European Standards Organisation to ensure the continued export of Australian manufactured solar hot water heaters to Europe.

A complete list of the projects is available. Apart from the one I have mentioned, the Australian Wind Energy Association and Environment Victoria are receiving a grant of $200,000; Australian Pork Limited for $150,000; and Standards Australia International for $50,000. As I have said there are a number of other grants as well.

They should indicate to you the Government's continued interest in the development of innovative approaches to renewable and sustainable energy projects.

The other matter that I want to announce today is one that I am sure is very close to your hearts and that is the composition of the panel to review the Mandatory Renewable Energy Scheme. I know that you're very keen to get rolling on with the review, we have given a lot of thought to the panel, who might conduct this review, under very broad terms of reference and the panel is going to be announced by Ian Macfarlane and myself to the wider country but I am going to give you a scoop today and you'll be the first to hear this.

The panel will consist of four people. The chair of the panel will be the Honourable Grant Tambling, former Senator for the Northern Territory; former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aged Care; former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Security; and former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services. He will provide, I believe, a very strong and independent chairmanship of that panel and he will be assisted by three people who will bring important and different perspectives to the work of the review.

The second member of the panel will be Monica Oliphant who is a research scientist specialising in renewable energy and residential end-use efficiency. She was Convenor of the 2001 International Solar Energy Society Solar World Congress; the Principal Energy Research Scientist for the Electricity Trust of SA - Power and Energy; a member of the South Australian Government's Research Advisory Committee; and a member of the South Australian Government's Renewable Energy Working Group.

The third member of the panel will be Peter Laver, former Group General Manager and Senior Vice President of BHP Minerals and Environment, Safety and External affairs; Chairman of the Australian Building Codes Board; Chairperson of the Victorian Learning and Employment Skills Commission; and Council Member of the National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon).

The fourth member of the panel will be Neville Stevens AO, former Secretary of the Department of Communications and Arts; former Secretary of the Department of Industry; member of the Board of Information Technology and Communications Research and Development Centre of Excellence; and Chairman of the Australian Communications Industry Forum.

I believe that is a very high quality panel, it's a panel that you can see is designed to provide strong support for the wide ranging Terms of Reference that we will be pursuing. There will be an opportunity for the industry to raise I believe all major issues that they believe concern the future of the renewable energy industry in Australia and I am hopeful - and I am confident - that you will give it your very strong support and I invite your input to the review.

The Government is very determined to see the renewable and sustainable energy industry as a part of Australia's future. It is an important part of energy security for Australia, we are delighted with the impact so far of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target - a world leading scheme. It's clearly generating an enormous amount of interest in innovative approaches to renewable energy.

I know that many of you have views about the design of the scheme and you will have an opportunity to put all those views to the panel that I have announced. But the Government is very committed to making sure that we do have a strong component of renewable energy as we move into Australia's future. We see that, as I have said, as part of a longer-term energy security and I thank you for the contributions that you are making to that. I invite your inputs through the various forums that we have provided and I thank you for the time that you have put into giving those inputs to date and I am sure that you will make sure that we are fully informed about your views in the future.

Thank you

Commonwealth of Australia