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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
16 November 1999
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says he's astounded the Queensland Government has approved a further expansion in coal fired power generation while at the same time criticising the Commonwealth's greenhouse reduction strategy.
Senator Hill today strongly denied claims by the Queensland Premier that the Federal Government was "moving too slowly" on greenhouse policy.
"The greenhouse implications from the expansion of coal fired power stations in Queensland are quite obvious. Ultimately Australia will have to bear the costs of additional greenhouse abatement programs because of this decision.
"Premier Beattie is taking a swipe at Canberra to divert attention away from the fact that his own Government's continuing support for more coal-fired power generation will make it more difficult for Australia to meet its Kyoto target," Senator Hill said.
The Queensland Government yesterday gave the green light to the $1 billion expansion of the Tarong power station near Kingaroy. Two other coal-fired power stations (Callide and Millmerran) are now under construction with a fourth facility (Kogan Creek) awaiting approval.
"Australia is regarded as a world leader in its response to the Greenhouse effect with the Howard Government committing almost $1 billion to greenhouse gas reduction programs over the next five years."
"A key to our success has been the cooperative approach taken to ensure all sectors of the community play a part in helping to meet our national target. The response from local government and some key business sectors to sign up to voluntary reduction programs has been unprecedented throughout the world.
"But the states must also accept their responsibility and not try to pass the buck onto the Federal Government."
Senator Hill said Premier Beattie's criticism of the Commonwealth's greenhouse record was even more astounding in light of recent reports of accelerating rates of land clearing in Queensland.
Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364