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Voluntary funding 1st choice for emission research

Thursday, 28 August 2003 Media Statement

Voluntary funding the first choice for agricultural greenhouse gas emission research

Voluntary funding from the agriculture sector for research into agricultural greenhouse gas emissions remains the Government's first preference, says the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson.

"Contrary to claims from the Act Party and others, the Government's position on funding for agricultural emissions research has not changed," Mr Hodgson said.

"For about two years we have been asking the agriculture sector to provide funding for research into reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The sector is being exempted from emissions charges on agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions on condition that it provides this funding.

"The Government reserved the option of introducing a levy to raise the necessary funds from the sector if it did not make its own arrangements to pay for the research. To date the industry has committed $800,000 through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, less than a tenth of the $8.4 million an independent scientific panel has recommended.

"The Government has therefore begun preparing legislation for a levy. If the agriculture sector decides to make its own arrangements to deliver the necessary funding, the legislation will be unnecessary.

"The bottom line for the Government has always been that the agriculture sector provides the additional funding required. Taxpayers already provide almost $5 million a year and will continue to do so. It is not too late for the industry to increase its investment to the necessary level, if it wants to avoid a statutory levy."

ENDS

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