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Abbott’s vision for the North is environmental destruction and economic white elephants

The Government is acting like a bull in a china shop when it comes to tipping $5 billion into development in Northern Australia that was today outlined in the Northern Australia white paper announced by the Prime Minister.

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today that ‘development in Northern Australia must be innovative, sustainable and in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’.  

“The announcement of the Northern Australia white paper today commits a large amount of money into a region that has unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land ownership, management and culture, and precious landscape and eco-systems. The precautionary approach must underpin development into the future.

“This thriving region is like nowhere else in the world and maintains a diverse and resilient economy, it is a shame the Prime Minister can only see dollar signs for the area.

“Minister Robb said today ‘If it’s done properly, there will be no environmental impact’, it remains to be seen how the large scale clearing of native vegetation as well as large scale development won’t have an environmental impact on the region.

“We must develop responsibly and consider a conservation and hybrid economy that captures a carbon economy, ecotourism, a renewable energy hubs, services and supporting the existing robust small enterprise economy of horticulture and agriculture industries already thriving in the area.

Australian Greens Co-Deputy Leader, Senator Larissa Waters said the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund was a slush fund designed to prop up the Galilee Basin white elephants.

“It’s clear Tony Abbott’s coal obsession is the driving force behind the $5 billion Infrastructure Fund, which Infrastructure Australia only found out about on budget night.

“Tony Abbott is so determined to dig up the millions of tonnes of coal in the Galilee Basin and ship it out the Great Barrier Reef to cook the planet that he is throwing in taxpayer money

“As the world turns to renewables, leaving Australia behind, it’s clear coal mines will become stranded assets.

“Nobody wants to invest in Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, which still doesn’t have any finance, but Tony Abbott wants to shovel taxpayers’ money into it.

“We should be investing in infrastructure to achieve a low carbon economy, such as large-scale solar and high-speed rail,” Senator Waters said.

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