The Australian Greens will support the flood levy in the House of Representatives and the Senate after important gains from the Government on their proposed funding cuts, Greens Leader Bob Brown, Deputy Leader Christine Milne and MP Adam Bandt said in Canberra today.
“The Greens have taken our concerns directly to the government and have negotiated a good outcome that will release funding for flood recovery and protect key programs,” Senator Brown said.
The Greens have ensured that $100 million will be returned to the Solar Flagships program in the forward estimates and that a proper consultation process will be undertaken to develop long term policy for large-scale solar power.
The Greens also secured agreement for continued discussions about long-term funding for disaster relief and options for a national insurance program as the nation moves toward confronting the challenges posed by climate change.
“Today’s agreement gives the Australian solar thermal and PV industries a real chance to flourish and start replacing our old dirty coal fired power plants. I am particularly delighted that, for the first time, the government has acknowledged the role of feed-in tariffs in accepting our proposal for a solar industry roundtable,” Senator Milne said.
“The Greens and the solar industry have long argued for well-designed programs such as feed-in tariffs and loan guarantees to really drive the construction of baseload solar power plants. The solar industry was never properly consulted on the design of the Solar Flagships program, which has suffered from delays and poor implementation,” Senator Milne said.
The Australian Greens have also secured the restoration of the National Rental Affordability Scheme and commitments regarding funding for learning and teaching.
“Over recent weeks, people across the country and in my own electorate of Melbourne have said it makes no sense to cut the solar flagships program to fund flood reconstruction when climate change will only make extreme weather events more frequent and more severe in the future,” Mr Bandt said.
“Together with my Greens colleagues, I have taken these concerns directly to the government and help negotiate a good outcome and play a direct role in maintaining significant investment in large-scale solar power in Australia,” Mr Bandt said.
“From day one, we have said that there are alternatives to taking the axe to solar, housing affordability and other important programs, such as delaying tax cuts for big business or returning to the original mining tax policy that we now know would have delivered another $60 billion in revenue over the next 10 years,” Senator Brown said.