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Fed Govt surrenders to big business: Greenhouse Bill lacks transparency, accountability and urgency, says Senator

Posted by gmarkets on 11 October, 2007

One of the real issues that remain with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Bill 2007 was that the essential elements of a reporting scheme included comprehensive coverage of emitters, data at both corporate and facility level, reporting on a range of relevant activities, transparent and objective processes for calculating emissions and public accountability of the scheme, Tasmania’s Senator Christine Milne said in the Commonwealth Senate on 20 September 2007.

Bill lacking: “That is not included here because the government has given in to the Australian industry greenhouse network which desperately does not want public disclosure at a facility level,” Milne said. “We now have a bill in which, although the data will be collected at the facility level, there is no requirement to disclose that data to the public. There are only aggregated totals across company levels and that is not going to give the public what it wants in terms of being able to hold companies to account. That is a mistake.”

Lack of transparency: “There will now be no transparency for the public to know how emission permits are allocated. Even though there is an overwhelming body of evidence that all pollution permits should be auctioned, there is no doubt that a number of them will be allocated for free. Unless you can have absolute transparent reporting at both facility and aggregate level, how can the community have any confidence in the integrity of any scheme? I think that is a real mistake.”

Thresholds too high, progress too slow: The thresholds were too high and should have been much more stringent, said Milne. There was no need for the phase-in over three years as was the case with the bill. “We should be able to move much faster than that, and that is why I say that I do not think the government understands the urgency of dealing with climate change,” Milne said. The government did not understand that Australia was facing dangerous climate change and, in the face of that, had to act quickly. “We cannot sit around and wait for several more years to get this underway,” Milne said.

Reference: Christine Milne, Senator for Tasmania, Australian Greens Party, Senate Hansard, Commonwealth of Australia, 20 September 2007

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