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Infrastructure stimulus must protect climate; Unions see jobs in climate protection

New infrastructure funding in the coming Federal Budget must help reduce Australia's greenhouse emissions and create jobs in climate protection, the Australian Greens said today.

In giving evidence to hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy in Melbourne today, ACTU Secretary Sharran Burrow and the AMWU's Dave Oliver spoke of the tremendous jobs potential in moving to rapidly reduce Australia's greenhouse emissions.

"Protecting the climate is a job for everyone," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne.

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Estimates Questions on Infrastructure


Senator «MILNE» -Mr Taylor, I want to ask if you have a whole-of-agency approach to incorporating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as a screen against all work that your agency does, whether it is road transport, aviation, local government infrastructure and all that sort of thing; if that screen is implemented across the agency; and how it reports back to you.

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Senate scrutiny reveals energy mess

The Australian Greens are consulting widely on proposals for including energy efficiency requirements in all school and housing projects to be funded in the stimulus package currently being scrutinised by the Senate.

In hearings this morning, officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet revealed that no thought had been given in preparing the package to requiring new housing stock to be energy efficient. Neither was any consideration given to funding cycleways or public transport infrastructure instead of roads.

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World Watch Institute report backs Greens' zero emissions target

The Australian Greens' policy to put Australia on a trajectory towards zero net emissions was backed up overnight by the release of a report calling for global greenhouse emissions to fall below zero after 2050.

The highly respected World Watch Institute State of the Planet report, with a foreword by IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri, sets out a clear scientific case for cutting global emissions as fast as is technically feasible in order to prevent global catastrophe.

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Infrastructure list includes best and worst: Which will the Government pick?

Infrastructure Australia's short-list released today includes proposals which would help build a sustainable Australia and others which would lock the country into a high-polluting path for decades, the Australian Greens said today.

The proposals across transport, ports and energy are on balance positive, with more than half (based on indicative capital cost) likely to have a net positive environmental impact and less than half a questionable or net negative impact.

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Weak targets make no scientific, economic or diplomatic sense; China, business reject Rudd-Garnaut go-slow

The Rudd Government's plans to announce weak climate targets are already undermining global negotiations, with China and South Africa saying the refusal to sign up to the 25-40% negotiating range could scuttle a new global deal, the Australian Greens said today.

A statement from global business leaders today will strengthen the increasingly troubling scientific calls for Australia to act responsibly, arguing, as the Greens have done, that investing now in reducing emissions will help drive the economic recovery.

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Green-Liberal amendments for transparency in infrastructure funds

The Australian Greens, with the support of the Liberals, have today amended Labor's Nation Building Bills to ensure that the multi-billion dollar funds are properly scrutinised.

The amendments, moved by Senator Milne:
• establish a new Parliamentary Joint Committee on Nation Building to oversee the Minister's allocations from the funds; and
• require all advice from the advisory boards to be made public immediately.

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