News | 24th May, 2011

Coalition baulks at emission price push

Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Stephen McMahon, Herald Sun

Taxpayer financed environmental groups are lobbying for the introduction of a carbon tax.

Environment Victoria has thrown its support behind a planned pro-carbon tax rally and is planning a series of major promotions in key Melbourne areas of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten this weekend.

No state money is being used to back the campaign.

But senior members of the Baillieu Government are furious the organisation is working so hard to boost the Gillard Government's carbon tax stance.

Treasurer Kim Wells has begun a review of financing arrangements for the organisation, which has been critical of the Coalition and Premier Ted Baillieu in the past six months.

Environment Victoria is preparing door knocks in Maribyrnong and Altona areas to garner support for the introduction of a carbon price ahead of a major pro-carbon tax rally planned for June 5 at the State Library.

Environment Victoria chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy said the petition of support from this weekend's events would be sent directly to the MPs' offices showing the support for both a carbon price and saving the Murray River.

"We want to show there is community support for these projects," she said.

"This State Government is weak on the environment and is attacking progressive policies."

The Coalition cut financing to Environment Victoria by $80,000 in this month's Budget.

The State Government provides about $1 million a year for services delivered by Environment Victoria.

Ms O'Shanassy said several projects being planned with the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transport were also shelved in recent weeks as the barriers went up.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesman Greg Evans said it made no sense for Australia, which emits 1 per cent of world emissions, to put a price on carbon while Pacific and Asian economies were not imposing any. "It is vital that government takes the right action," he said.