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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

29 April 2005

Labor plan to turn out the lights

The Federal Labor Party has flagged a massively interventionist energy policy which, if Kim Beazley was ever elected, would effectively shut down the equivalent of the whole of Australia's current electricity production.

Writing in The Age, Labor's Peter Garrett has revealed a secret plan for a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from Australia's power stations within four and a half decades. He said:

"...strong overall emissions targets such as a 60 per cent reduction by 2050 and a national greenhouse gas emission trading scheme must be implemented now."
(Peter Garrett, The Age, 28 April, p25)

I have consistently argued that scientists are saying cuts of up to 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are needed globally this century, but pointed out that Australia contributes just 1.6 per cent of global greenhouse gases.

Labor, on the other hand, is apparently advocating a 60 per cent cut to this nation's power output.

The Australian Labor state premiers currently have some 25 coal and gas fired power stations on the drawing board to meet the nation's growing energy needs in coming decades.

The Labor policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Australia by 60 per cent by 2050 would mean an effective cut of around 190 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually - the equivalent of 20 power stations.

On Wednesday, Victorian Labor Minister Theo Theophanous admitted to ABC radio that: "yes we do have some issues in relation to ensuring that we have some adequate supplies during the summer period."

Yet his federal counterpart is happy to threaten the states with inevitable blackouts and power failures because he prefers to take an ideological, rather than practical, stance.

Mr Garrett should nominate exactly which states he wants to cut the power to and which proposed power stations he wants scrapped.

In the same article Mr Garrett advocates more taxes or "levies" on energy users.

The Labor Party continues to offer simply empty slogans when Australia and the world need real solutions.

A truly effective international response to climate change requires the involvement of all major emitters from developed and developing economies.

The Australian Government is showing strong leadership on climate change through its $1.8 billion climate change strategy. The Government's plan is to create incentives to drive technology - not imposing taxes that will increase costs for industry and consumers.

Media contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell's office)  02 6277 7640 or  0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia