Queensland budget fuels climate change

\QueenslandFriends of the Earth Brisbane has expressed disappointment at the Queensland Government as yesterday’s budget announced spending of more than $700 million on coal infrastructure, dwarfing spending on climate change initiatives and renewable energy.

Friends of the Earth Brisbane

Climate Justice Campaign

MEDIA RELEASE: 4th June, 2008

Queensland budget fuels climate change

Friends of the Earth Brisbane has expressed disappointment at the Queensland Government as yesterday’s budget announced spending of more than $700 million on coal infrastructure, dwarfing spending on climate change initiatives and renewable energy.

“At a time when the world should be moving away from fossil fuels to renewable technologies this budget includes record spending on infrastructure to expand the coal industry, while investment in renewable energy in 2008-9 will be $35 million and climate change initiatives at $30 million” said Emma Brindal, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Brisbane.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Queensland government does not seem to comprehend the threat that climate change poses to the future of all Queenslanders, our economy and our ecosystems. The funds committed to climate change in the budget are not in line with the scale of this urgent issue, while spending on increasing Queensland’s coal exports is fuelling climate change. If we do not start to phase out coal exports and use, we will simply be unable to avert permanent and irreversible changes to the climate” said Ms Brindal.

“Friends of the Earth supports the increase in coal royalty rates. However, revenue from the coal industry should not be fed back into the industry through subsidies to infrastructure development. Rather it should be invested in renewable energy and creating a sustainable economy, including just transitions for coal workers as we move away from our dependence on the coal industry” said Ms Brindal.

A strong renewable energy industry would mean more jobs for Queenslanders. For every unit of energy, renewables create three to five more jobs than the coal industry.

The Bligh government has also committed to spending $300 over 10 years on so-called “clean” coal technologies to the detriment of renewables.

“So-called clean coal, or carbon capture and storage is not a solution to climate change. Carbon capture and storage is unproven on a commercial scale, more expensive than renewable energy like wind power, and potentially dangerous. Significantly, if proven, it will not be available for commercial use in the time scale needed. Renewable energy provides us with solutions now, and this is where the Queensland government should be directing funds rather than on this unproven technology” said Ms Brindal.

For more information: Emma Brindal 0411 084 727

 

Notes:

The Queensland government’s Coal Transport Infrastructure Program budget for 2008-2009 includes:

- $576.4 million for additional track works on the coal network in central Queensland;

- $70 million to increase the capacity of Abbot Point Coal Terminal to 25 million tonnes a year and $250 million on Abbot Point X50 expansion;

- $18.3 million for ongoing works at RG Tanna Coal Terminal and $5 million for Wiggins Island in Gladstone;

- $54 million to improve the road network in the Bowen Basin Region.