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Greens make the polluters - not the public - pay

16 June 2008

Greens make the polluters - not the public - pay

The Greens have succeeded with several improvements in the Emissions Trading legislation at select committee stage and so voted for the Bill to return to the House for further consideration. However more change is needed before we can support the final stages.

"We have closed one silly loophole, where the Government proposed that taxpayers should cover the cost of methane gas escaping from coal mines rather than the coal industry," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"The last thing we need is subsidies from the taxpayer to the coal industry.

"I am glad the select committee saw the sense of our proposals on this point and voted to include coal seam methane in the emissions that industry is responsible for.

"The select committee has also accepted our concern that the legislation left all the key decisions on allocation of free credits to officials after the legislation is passed, and has agreed to include criteria for these allocation decisions.

"The principles clause now includes the objective of reducing emissions which was not there before.

"We tightened up the rules on exemptions to thermal electricity restriction.

"However, while we welcome these changes, they are relatively small and there has been no progress yet on incentivising agriculture to reduce nitrous oxide emissions where there are cost-effective technologies available now. And we have yet to see a package of energy efficiency and financial support for households having difficulty meeting high energy costs.

"We are still proposing that transport should be phased in rather than enter all at once in 2011, as this would be easier for motorists.

"So far our concern that regenerating native forests may be destroyed to plant pines to get carbon credits has not been addressed. There must be a biodiversity test for new forest planting wanting carbon credits."

The Greens are still in discussion with the Government in good faith, looking at how the legislation may be further improved to make it both more effective and fairer.


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