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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

21 December 1999


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the Queensland Government is attempting to cover up its poor track record on greenhouse management by introducing a new renewable energy policy.

"After approving a string of new coal-fired power stations up and down the Queensland coast, Premier Beattie has suddenly found new enthusiasm for renewable energy.

"This is nothing more than a smokescreen. It's a bit like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted," Senator Hill said.

"Peter Beattie ranks at the bottom of the class when it comes to playing a part in reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

"Queensland is the last state to act on controlling tree clearing and its emissions account for 80 percent of Australia's output in this sector.

"Now he's finally rushed a policy through parliament without setting a single dollar aside to compensate those affected.

"Queensland has endorsed the National Greenhouse Strategy and while its implementation plan sounds well meaning, it fails to give any concrete details as to how its contribution will actually be achieved.

"This is the typical Peter Beattie approach and is in stark contract to the Federal Government's action on greenhouse. The Commonwealth has committed more than a billion dollars over the next five years on world-leading programs to develop renewable energy, cleaner fuels and other abatement projects that will help Australia meet its Kyoto target.

"Queensland has been a major beneficiary of the Howard Government's world leading greenhouse initiatives with the state receiving a major share of funding so far. The recent decision compelling electricity retailers to source an extra two percent renewable energy is expected to return around $192 million annually to the Queensland economy by 2010.

"The Federal Government has also committed $100 million to the proposed aluminium plant at Gladstone to encourage the construction of the PNG gas pipeline.

"Premier Beattie's approval of coal fired power stations will only serve to make gas alternatives less viable," Senator Hill said.

Media contact: Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) (08) 8237 7920 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia