I am pleased to make a brief contribution to the debate on the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2015.
I support the amendments and therefore support the bill in its amended form. I would like to pay tribute to the great work that has been done by the member for Port Adelaide and the member for Brand in working with the Minister for the Environment to ensure that we actually reached this point. Because for the last 18 months there has been a capital strike in the renewables industry. Australia has moved from being in a position where we were one of the most favourable places on earth to invest in renewable energy, to being in a position where next to no investment has gone into large-scale renewables.
It matters to an area like mine, which is going through a massive transformation and investment in renewables. Investment in jobs of the future and in the manufacturing that will support them is absolutely critical. In New South Wales there are over 4,500 jobs in this sector. BlueScope Steelworks are investing heavily in combining their world-beating Colorbond product with solar-energy-capturing technology to ensure that the one panel can both cover the roof and collect the energy that can be converted into electricity. It is this sort of investment which the former Labor government was supporting, together with the great work being done at Wollongong university, which will ensure that manufacturing has a future not only in my region but in this country. The program is actually working. We cannot stick our heads in a bucket of sand, as many would like us to do. I support the bill, I support the amendments and I think if we are able to get over these road bumps that we currently have, large-scale renewable energy in this country has a very bright future indeed.