The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:28 ): I apologise to members that the minister has taken 10 minutes to give an answer that did not address any of the questions.
The Hon. I.K. Hunter interjecting:
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: Mr President, please just allow me—given that the EPA press release says 'expected to conclude revisions of clauses 8 and 9', which is burning in the open, my questions are:
1.What are the likely changes to clauses 8 and 9?
2.What impact is that likely to have on our primary producers?
3.Did I hear the minister correctly when he said the current policy will be revoked and we will have a new policy that includes these changes to clauses 8 and 9?
Could he please answer the questions I asked, Mr President?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:28 ): The honourable member—
The PRESIDENT: Order! You have asked your question. Let him answer.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: —chastises me for giving a thorough-going answer to a very important question, and then he stands up and asks a supplementary, inviting me to give another 10 minutes' response, and I could because I have additional notes. Let me just read back into the record what he obviously didn't listen to: the last few comments that I made.
All comments and submissions are being considered by the EPA before the policy is finalised later this year. Obviously, I said the EPA could possibly project what some of the changes will be because they respond to the feedback. What that change will be I don't know yet, because that would be presuming me writing these changes into policy and I have not been informed by that public consultation. That would be wrong. Why would the honourable member expect that that would be the case; it's stupid, just stupid. The revised policy, I said, is consistent with current standards and regulatory practice and incorporates elements of the previous open burning policy—
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Well, I am just explaining it to him, Mr President.
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: You said there was no revised policy.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: And then I am going on to explain it to you. Listen for a change, Mr Ridgway.
The PRESIDENT: Order! All comments through the chair.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: And incorporates elements of the previous open burning policy and the interim solid fuel heater policy, both of which will be revoked when the new air quality policy comes into effect. It's pretty straightforward. It's pretty understandable and straightforward but the Hon. Mr Ridgway clearly does not understand the first part of this important public policy. I can only imagine who wrote this question and sent it in to him for him to ask today, but clearly they didn't give him enough backup material.
It incorporates new provisions for wood heaters—this is what I said in my answer, Mr President. It incorporates new provisions for wood heaters, including requirements for excessive smoke emissions from in-service heaters and for moisture content of firewood sold in South Australia. The motor fuel quality standard will also be revoked—I am speaking very slowly so the honourable member understands—in favour of the Commonwealth Fuel Quality Standards Act 2001, which regulates import sales and quality of fuel within Australia. I don't know how much clearer I can be.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I will let the Leader of the Opposition have the supplementary.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:31 ): What impact will this new policy have on primary producers in South Australia in relation to the burning—as you would hopefully know, minister—of stubble during our autumn period?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:31 ): The honourable member presumes that I have written the new policy before I have actually responded to the feedback. Of course that is not the case.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:31 ): Further supplementary: so, minister, you have no idea what the new policy's impact will be on primary producers in South Australia?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:31 ): We are remaking our current policy. We are engaging in a process of public engagement, seeking feedback from the public about how we should manage that public policy change. The Hon. Mr Ridgway is asking and inviting me to actually ignore all that feedback, write policy without any public input and then explain it. He's got it completely backwards. First we consult, then we make the changes to the policy and then we explain it. The Hon. Mr Ridgway, if he had his druthers, in his world, he would be out there announcing and then defending. That is not what we in this government do. We consult with communities, make changes on the basis of that consultation and prepare better public policy because of it.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: Final supplementary, if I may.
The PRESIDENT: Final supplementary.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:32 ): Why then is the EPA giving the member for Goyder a briefing on the policy on Monday but the minister is unable to tell us what the policy is today?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:32 ): We are an inclusive and open government and I always offer members of the opposition briefings on the policy and the changes and reviews that we are undertaking. The process is simply this: we will background opposition MPs—indeed any MPs or any member of the public—on the process we are undertaking. When the policy is finally delivered to me as a draft, I will then be in a position to make further public comment about the impacts of it. But to presume that I have already drafted and authorised a policy change without taking into account that public feedback first is absolutely wrong.