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- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Brown coal compensation must be reviewed


Christine Milne & Adam Bandt
Wednesday 20 February 2013

The over generous compensation to the high greenhouse gas emitting brown coal generators is shocking but comes as no surprise and must be reviewed by the Federal Government, Senator Christine Milne said today.

The whole point of the Clean Energy Package was to drive transition away from the dirtiest brown coal emitters not to prop them up and delay a clean renewable energy future.

"Professor Ross Garnaut and I both argued passionately against the $5 billion compensation package, arguing that it was a shocking waste of money," Senator Milne said.

"The next payment of over $1 billion in free permits is due on September 1 and there needs to be an urgent review before then."

Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt said that during the negotiations we warned Labor this would happen but they wouldn't listen.

"The massive overcompensation was identified throughout the negotiations and was the subject of tense weekend negotiations at Parliament House in Canberra which almost brought the carbon price negotiations to an end," Mr Bandt said.

The analysis by Carbon and Energy Markets, released by Environment Victoria, estimates brown coal generators could get $2.3-5.4 billion in windfall profits because they have been able to pass on all of the carbon price to consumers.

Instead the Greens said all that was necessary was government guaranteed loans. This has been borne out by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in November 2012. It found the design of the Australian emission trading scheme fits well with the IEA's findings on lessons from international experience but with the exception of free permits and cash given to the coal fire generators.

However, Minister Combet brought in John Pierce from the Australia Energy Market Commission to provide advice that the government used to make a decision to go ahead with the $5 billion waste of money.

It was clear that Gillard Government would not agree to carbon price package that did not have massive compensation to coal at its heart. The Greens then sought contracts for closure for 2,000 megawatts of the dirtiest brown coal generators.

The Coalition can take no comfort from this because it is the exact same waste of money that their "pay the polluter" Direct Action plan delivers. John Howard's Greenhouse Gas Abatement Plan was a failure and so too will be Tony Abbott's direct action plan.

"The big polluters are now being paid billions to keep polluting. This has to end." Mr Bandt said.

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