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Budget 2008: Climate change funding cut by $21.1m.

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Wed, 14th May 2008


The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Urban Water (to 22 September 2008)

After months of talking up his green credentials, Mr Rudd has released a Budget that reduces total spending on climate change by $21.1m over his first two years in office. Mr Rudd is climate lazy because his Budget substitutes pious claims for real action.

First, the Budget Papers show a combined cut to climate programs of $400.6m in 2007/08 and 2008/09 (Budget Paper 2, page 327).* However, new climate expenditure for those two years is only $379.5m (Budget Paper 2, page 107).

In short, despite all the talk and promises, Mr Rudd has deceived Australians: total climate spending in his first two years in office will decrease by $21.1m.

Second, the much-vaunted Renewable Energy Fund does not commence until mid 2009. Despite what we were led to believe there is nothing in the 2008-09 Budget under the Renewable Energy Fund.

Indeed, in the four-year Budget period, there is less than half of the $500m that the Government promised for renewable technology (Budget Paper 2, page 117). This is a shortfall of $273m over what we were led to believe would occur.

Third, the express rejection of a Clean Energy Target (Budget paper 2, page 379) will destroy incentive for early adoption of clean coal and gas technology. Nothing could be more certain to delay the cleaning up of the 92% of our energy that currently comes from coal and gas. Even the CFMEU has called for a Clean Energy Target to help clean up our power stations.

Fourth, the Budget papers make no provision whatsoever for the revenues from the Emissions Trading Scheme due to commence in 2010 - well within the period of the forward estimates. This is simply hiding the coming taxes on petrol and power from pensioners and families.

Fifth, despite Mr Rudd talking about the need for action to help tackle climate change in China and India, the Government has abandoned the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, cutting $50 million from the program (Budget Paper 2, page 341). If the 2007/08 - 2008/09 figures are added, total domestic and international climate change cuts reach $42 million.

Finally, the Green Car Innovation Fund does not start in 2008, or 2009, or even 2010: it only starts in 2011 (Budget Paper 2, page 106).

* Cuts for 2007/08 in climate and water total $242.1m and $200.1m in 2008/09. This makes a total cut of $442.2m. However the Community Water Grant is not accounted as a climate program ($41.5m). This leaves total climate cuts of $400.6m (Budget Paper 2, page 327).