Mining and Resources
The Australian Greens want a strong and diverse economy that sets us up for the long term and does not undermine our environment and the wellbeing of our communities.
The Greens want our future energy needs to be met using renewable energy. Continued reliance on polluting fossil fuels such coal and coal seam gas is destroying our environment, risking our food security, skewing the economy and affecting local communities.
Senior Treasury officials have refuted industry spin about job creation and the claims that the benefits of the mining boom are universal.
The Greens are taking action in the community and in the Parliament with bills to strengthen our national laws to protect our precious water resources, farmland, rural communities and environment from the impacts of rapacious mining.
Sign up to find out more about our work to protect our land, water, climate and communities from Coal Seam Gas mining.
09 Jun 2011
The Australian Greens say Environment Minister Tony Burke must make a final decision about the National Heritage listing of the West Kimberley before beginning any environmental assessments of the proposed James Price Point gas hub.
26 May 2011
Pollution from burning coal, oil and gas is driving a climate crisis, making our world more dangerous, increasing prices of food and water and jeopardising our way of life.
But if we cut pollution and invest properly in the clean alternatives, we can build a healthier, cleaner, more secure economy and community for all of us.
The best way to do that is to put a price on carbon pollution and use the revenue to help householders and invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transport and forest protection.
That is what the Greens are doing, working with the government and the independent MPs through the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee we established after the 2010 election. We are working hard to get the best outcome for the climate, the community and the economy, and we need your support.
26 May 2011
Why do we need a carbon tax?
What is this thing called a carbon tax? How will it work? Will I have to pay more taxes?
What will it mean to me?
A carbon price is all we need, isn't it? Once we've got that, we can ditch all other policies, surely.
What about jobs? Won't it put thousands of people out of work?
Isn't Tony Abbott's plan better? Why can't you just invest directly in reducing emissions?
How much will this tax reduce temperatures by? Isn't it a joke?
Isn't this just a giant 'money-go-round? Surely if you compensate people, there is no point.
Why should Australia do this when nobody else is?
Why is this approach better than the CPRS which you Greens rejected?
How does this compare to other major reforms such as the GST and trade liberalisation?
- For too long, polluting activities which make climate change worse have been cheaper than the clean alternatives because they haven't had to pay for the damage they do.
- Putting a price on pollution is about making polluters responsible for the damage they cause and using the revenue to help householders and invest in making the clean alternatives cheaper, creating jobs in new industries along the way.
- We can't just sit back and let continuing pollution make the climate crisis worse and worse. If we don't act, not only will we face sky-rocketing prices for food, water and insurance, as well as higher taxes to pay for the damage caused by extreme weather, but millions of people around the world will lose their homes, livelihoods or even their lives.
- Putting a price on pollution isn't politically easy, but it is the right thing to do.
- This is a tax on the 1000 or so biggest polluters in Australia, not on householders. You personally will not pay any more tax.
- The biggest polluters will have to account for their pollution and pay the government an amount (still to be determined) for each tonne.
- The revenue will be used to help householders with rising costs of living and invest in climate change programs such as making renewable energy cheaper. Some revenue will be used to compensate trade exposed industry to help them compete with those overseas who don't face the same costs. The Greens are arguing strongly that coal fired power stations should not be given any of the revenue.
- Putting a price on pollution sends a signal to investors that the costs of dirty choices are going up while the costs of clean alternatives are going down. With more investment in clean, renewable energy, costs will go down even faster thanks to economies of scale and technological breakthroughs.
- When we go to the supermarket, most of us would like to buy the healthier or cleaner alternatives on offer, but we think twice about our choice if they cost more.
- Putting a price on pollution and using revenue to help householders means cleaner products will be relatively less expensive and you will have more money in your pocket. You will be able to make an informed choice: do I pay more for the polluting product or do I instead choose the clean alternative, which is becoming cheaper thanks to the pollution price?
- Over time, you will get the benefits of cheaper clean energy, cleaner air, a safer climate and a thriving economy.
- Actually, a carbon price is good at delivering the cheapest pollution cuts right now, but if we are thinking long-term, planning for the transformation to a truly clean economy, we need other policies to make sure our industry is ready.
- Experts from the International Energy Agency to Professor Garnaut and many more agree that teaming a price on pollution with well-designed policies to bring on renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transport, etc, is the most effective way to deliver strong action over time.
- The Greens want to see a feed-in tariff or loan guarantees to drive the construction of industrial-scale, baseload solar power plants, for example. We also want an energy efficiency target scheme to run parallel with the renewable energy target to make sure we find the best opportunities to save energy, cut pollution and save money across the economy.
- Building a clean energy economy will create far more jobs than will be lost from the old, polluting industries, and many of the jobs need the same skills – boilermakers, electricians, welders, plumbers and more will all be in huge demand as we transform our economy.
- The Greens want to see a Just Transitions strategy developed to help workers and communities who currently rely on the polluting industries to find work in the new, clean economy.
- While the Greens and the government want polluters to pay for the pollution they cause, using revenue to help householders, Tony Abbott wants to use taxpayers' money to pay polluters in the hope that they will reduce their emissions.
- Tony Abbott's plan would slug householders $720 a year to pay polluters, and, unlike our approach, it would give no compensation.
- Not a single economic or environmental expert supports Tony Abbott's approach.
- Tony Abbott's idea of paying polluters was tried for many years by the Howard government and it never worked.
- There is already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, pushing us closer and closer towards climate crisis. We need to immediately start the transition away from polluting energy to clean energy and the best way to make that happen is by putting a price on pollution and investing in clean energy.
- Many countries around the world are ahead of us in this transition. Australia needs to play its role, both because otherwise we will be left behind and because we have a responsibility to do so as the world's 11th largest polluter.
- If Australia plays its responsible role and the world acts fast, we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change and start to bring our climate back into the safe zone that has allowed our civilisation to flourish.
- If we make polluting goods and services more expensive, but make sure that people have more money in their pockets, they still see a clear signal to choose cleaner options when they can.
- It is different from our argument that compensating the big polluters undermines the price signal. In the case of polluters, they will not have to pay for a proportion of their pollution in the first place. That means the signal they receive is that much weaker.
- It is a myth that Australia would be leading the world. In fact, Australia is in danger of falling behind as our major competitors make big strides into the clean energy economy.
- Full emissions trading schemes are operating in the EU, NZ and parts of the USA and a regional scheme is in preparation in China. India already has a tax on coal. In addition, China has some of the strongest policies to drive the uptake of renewable energy and electric cars in the world.
- Where the CPRS acted as a ceiling on action, this plan acts as a foundation that we can build on into the future.
- The CPRS, with its appallingly weak targets and high compensation, was designed in a way to make it almost impossible to strengthen. The government's own figures showed that it would deliver absolutely no change in Australia's economy for at least 15 years and the target could not be lifted to the kind of ambitious levels the science demands.
- This price on pollution, on the other hand, is designed with the clear intention of becoming more ambitious over time.
- For detail on our approach to the CPRS, see here.
- Although the changes over time are likely to be much bigger as we build a new, clean economy, the impact of the price on pollution on most Australians will be much smaller than the impact of other major reforms such as the GST or trade liberalisation.
- The impact of the GST on household costs is about twice that of a carbon price as high as $40, or 3.5 times as much as a carbon price as low as $20.
- Treasury modelling for a $40 carbon price suggested an average cost to householders of around $22 a week, which is around the same as the average household spends on toiletries and cosmetics each week, about half what we spend on fast food and well less than we spend on alcohol. (Comparisons to ABS Household Expenditure Survey 2003-04)
25 May 2011
Australian Greens marine spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says legislation to establish a national regulator for the offshore petroleum industry is an important step towards improving regulation of the oil and gas sector.
24 May 2011
ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE Estimates TUESDAY, 24 MAY 2011 Full Transcript
Director of National Parks
Senator SIEWERT: I would like to ask about Christmas Island at some stage but first I want to ask some general questions about the NRS program, if that is okay.
23 May 2011
The Australian Greens have welcomed reports that no companies have taken up an exploration lease located off WA’s Margaret River region.
05 May 2011
Today’s announcement has fallen well short of the comprehensive network of marine sanctuaries promised for Australia’s South West marine region by Federal Environment Minister Burke, according to Greens marine spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert.
08 Mar 2011
The Australian Greens have condemned plans to explore for oil and gas at a depth of over 5km just 50km off WA's world-famous Ningaloo reef and are calling on the Federal Government to reject the proposal.
03 Mar 2011
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (3.45 pm)—by leave—I move:
That the Senate take note of the document. I am particularly keen to talk about this government response. It was in fact me who referred this matter to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, which is now called the Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee.