• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Greens set up fresh Senate clash with call for ban on new coal and gas

ByGurinderbir Singh

Feb 14, 2023

“The Greens have huge concerns with other parts of the scheme, such as the rampant use of offsets and the low emissions reduction targets, but we’re prepared to put those concerns aside and give Labor’s scheme a chance if Labor agrees to stop opening new coal and gas projects.”

But the Greens are yet to introduce the wording of their amendment to the bill and show how the new law could stop any company from opening any new coal and gas project, given decisions on these projects are made under separate environmental law.

‘Coal and gas are driving the climate crisis, but Labor wants more.’

Greens leader Adam Bandt

Bandt did not say the Greens would reject the safeguard mechanism if he did not get the amendment, and he made no statement indicating the party would vote down the entire scheme in the way it joined the Coalition in blocking Labor’s emissions trading scheme in 2009.

The Greens are also setting out amendments to the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund and the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund without saying they would vote against the two measures if they do not get what they want.

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather said the $10 billion fund was the wrong way to address affordability because a maximum of $500 million in earnings would be released each year to subsidise housing providers, which he said was not enough.

Chandler-Mather called for a $5 billion federal outlay on housing every year in perpetuity as well as $1 billion for Indigenous housing.


Grattan Institute economic policy program director Brendan Coates rejected a key criticism of the housing fund made by the Greens and the Coalition on Tuesday – that the fund would not be able to invest in housing if returns on the $10 billion were negative in any given year.

Coates, who set out a scheme similar to the fund two years ago, said the government policy would commit funds to housing projects and deliver the subsidies even when returns were smaller in some years than in others.

Independent senator David Pocock is also seeking changes to the housing fund in a bid to get more homes built, maximising pressure on Labor to increase spending to secure a deal.

On the reconstruction fund, the Greens want it to be banned from investing in projects that are “inconsistent with Australia’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets” – a provision aimed at stopping the fund from putting money into gas and coal projects.

Industry Minister Ed Husic, who has held talks with Bandt to clear the way to a deal in the Senate, has described the reconstruction fund as an investor in manufacturing, medicine, clean energy and other projects rather than energy infrastructure.

Asked if he might change the wording of the amendment in those negotiations, Bandt said he was willing to listen to arguments from the government about how to change the draft law.

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.