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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

13 December 2002

Labor: No Policies, No Principles

In the early hours of this morning Labor again demonstrated why it can't be trusted with our environment.

This week, the Parliament debated amendments designed to resolve legal and administrative ambiguities and to ensure the integrity of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act.

In the House of Representatives on Monday, Labor's environment spokesman Kelvin Thomson agreed with the Howard Government that the renewable energy target should be seriously and properly examined in the independent Review that will commence in January.

Quote: "the review should examine whether the MRET target should be five percent or a higher figure …"

Kelvin Thomson also said: "The government's proposed amendments represent an improvement to the MRET scheme and Labor will be supporting them …."

That commitment lasted only until the Bill hit the Senate floor. When the Greens again displayed their recklessness by introducing an amendment to increase the target to an unachievable 25%, Labor couldn't stand the heat. It cobbled together its own amendment to increase the target.

In the scramble to curry favour with the Greens, Labor didn't even bother to check that a higher target required another amendment to increase the financial penalty regime to make it work - in other words, a higher target could result in the situation where the penalty could be cheaper than buying renewable energy so companies would opt for a penalty instead - slugging consumers with no benefit for the environment.

The Bill supported by every Labor member in the House of Representatives was sacrificed in the Senate because Labor has no environment policy and worse still, it has no principles.

Labor and the Greens have struck a blow at Australia's world leading mandatory renewable energy target in the interests of a political deal. Neither can be believed when they say they support renewable energy.

Media enquiries:
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

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