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PM Howard tying Australia to dangerous, chaotic energy policy.

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Senator Christine Milne

PM Howard tying Australia to dangerous, chaotic energy policy

Senator Milne, Monday, 16th October, 2006

Prime Minister John Howard's support for nuclear power is a sign of a chaotic and dangerous energy policy emerging as the government tries to play catch up on climate change, the Australian Greens said today.

Greens energy and climate change spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said Prime Minister Howard's firm backing of nuclear power for Australia ahead of the report of his taskforce was opportunistic as business and regional government representatives gathered this week for a major climate conference.

"Prime Minister John Howard wants to sell uranium and become a bigger nuclear fuel supplier but in so doing is sending a signal to countries in the region that Australia wants to be nuclear ready," Senator Milne said in Canberra.

"This is a dangerous and foolish thing to do, particularly in the current security climate as the international community responds to North Korea's nuclear weapons test last week.

"The Prime Minister has become a mouthpiece for the nuclear industry which is wrong on climate change. Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous, expensive and too slow to meet the urgent challenge we face.

"No nuclear reactor can be commissioned in the critical 10-15 years we have to seriously address climate change. Deep greenhouse emission cuts are possible without nuclear power.

"Australia needs a coherent energy policy, founded on the imperative of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The government has failed to deliver this and now it is thrashing about trying to play catch up as it realises that climate change is an issue of concern to the community and progressive businesses.

"If the government is serious about addressing climate change it would be supporting energy efficiency and promoting the renewable energy sector in Australia, not sending the industry offshore.

"It's not good enough to simply throw more money at the industry, as the government may well do when it announces the first grants under the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund later this month.

"The industry needs not only financial support but a policy framework with regulations and a carbon price to promote investment in renewable energy as a substitute for dirty coal power."

Contact: Katrina Willis 03 6234 4566 or 0437 587 562