Productivity Commission agrees with Greens: Senator Christine Milne

By Tina Perinotto…

27 May  – Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, has hailed the Productivity Commission’s view that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is economically irresponsible, as further evidence that the scheme is flawed.

Today’s newspapers are debating whether the scheme could trigger an early election because of the refusal of the Opposition and the Coalition to pass legislation for the scheme.

But according to Senator Milne, the CPRS is seriously flawed and should be replaced by a better system, in any case.

“There are economic, social and environmental opportunity costs when Governments spend billions of dollars propping up old polluters when those resources are desperately needed for transforming the economy into a carbon neutral powerhouse,” Senator Milne said today in a media statement today (27 May).

The CPRS would “impose additional costs” on other industries, Senator Milne said, quoting the Productivity Commission.

“They noted that 50 per cent of all budgetary assistance to 2011-12 is in the form of free permits under the CPRS.

“The Commission concluded that [free permits] ‘risk muting the price signal explicit in the carbon price. By doing so they hold resources in emission intensive activities longer than might otherwise be the case, allowing a more gradual transition to lower emission activities.’”

Senator Milne said the view from World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen said that governments should strive to end the current perverse subsidies that favour high emission transport and energy infrastructure and promote deforestation.

“This morning Greg Combet kicked a spectacular own goal by proudly declaring that the Productivity Commission says the Government’s CPRS is too generous to big polluters,” Senator Milne said.

“Greg Combet clearly revealed that this scheme is about nothing other than propping up the old polluters by warning the Minerals Council conference today that they need to lock in support for this deal because they will never have anything better.

“There is no surer indication that the Government’s targets are unacceptably weak than that the Coalition parties are supporting them, but the truth is the National Party will never vote for an ETS and the Coalition will always struggle to support one.

“With the CPRS set for defeat, the Government must now begin discussions with the Greens to develop an environmentally robust and economically efficient emissions trading scheme.”

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au