May 12, 2005

Budget shows Government ignoring climate change

BUDGET SHOWS GOVERNMENT IGNORING CLIMATE CHANGE

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 11 May 2005

The Budget shows the Howard Government is ignoring the threat to our economy, health and environment posed by climate change.

Climate change is acknowledged as one of the world’s great problems by almost every other developed country. However, like those who said the earth was flat and smoking was safe, the Howard Government is in denial about the obvious threat of climate change.

The Budget does very little to promote clean energy and sustainability, and very little for the global effort to cut greenhouse gases.

The abolition of the Australian Greenhouse Office in the Budget is symbolic of the Howard Government’s complacency on climate change.

It is extraordinary that at a time when Governments around the world are taking action, the Howard Government has justified this abolition as a savings measure. This comes in spite of Peter Costello’s promise on 24 April that the Budget would be about “sustainability in respect of the environment”.

The AGO was the first national greenhouse office in the world, and its abolition reflects the Government’s head in the sand approach to climate change.

The Budget has sent a strong message to business that the Howard Government does not want to engage in clean energy technology nor allow Australian companies who have that expertise to be able to do so.

That is the wrong signal to give an emerging and lucrative industry, and it is clearly against the national interest. Australia has already seen innovative companies such as Pacific Solar move off-shore.

The Howard Government’s complacency towards climate change isolates us from the economic opportunities arising from emissions trading, renewable energy and the massive emerging market in environmental products and engineering in our region.