23 November, 2016

Baird raids Climate Change Fund to subsidise land clearing

Media reports today reveal the Baird government plans to use money from the state’s Climate Change Fund to subsidise the increased land clearing that will result from laws it rammed through parliament last week. [1]

The Climate Change Fund’s Draft Strategic Plan 2017-2022, release on November 3, revealed $240m would be spent to “help landholders and land managers reduce the impacts of climate change on natural systems”. [2]

“It turns out that is the same $240m for private-land conservation the government included as part of its package of weaker land clearing laws last week,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“Mike Baird’s plan to raid the NSW Climate Change Fund to subsidise land clearing is breathtaking in its cynicism, even for him.

“We support paying landholders to protect bushland and wildlife, but not at the expense of destruction elsewhere and urgent action on climate change.

“This is a sneaky piece of accounting that cuts investment in renewable energy while facilitating increased land clearing, a leading source of emissions.”

The Climate Change Fund

The Climate Change Fund (CCF) has since 2007 been used to reduce the state’s reliance on coal-fired electricity by boosting investment in renewable energy. The CCF funded the Solar Bonus Scheme that spent $200 million a year helping 146,000 households and small businesses to install solar. [3] That scheme is being wound up in December 2016.

The $240m private-land conservation

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists warned in a letter to state MPs in June that the $240m pledged for private-land conservation will operate as a “taxpayer subsidy to degrade land”. “The increased greenhouse gas emissions that will result [from increased clearing] will mean that taxpayers will be hit twice, because it will make our national commitments to reduce Australia’s emissions more difficult, resulting in higher costs to taxpayers and other sectors of the economy.” [4]

[1] SMH article URL
[2] https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/Environmental-Future-Consultation-CCF-Strategic-Plan
[3] http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/energy-consumers/solar/solar-bonus-scheme/solar-bonus-scheme
[4] http://www.nature.org.au/media/213803/wentworth-letter.pdf

Media contact: Campaigns Director Daisy Barham | 0402 335 664

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