The Abbott Government's carbon pollution safeguard mechanism, reported on today, will allow big businesses, especially mining companies, to keep polluting even more than they do today without facing any penalty.
"The government's so-called safeguard mechanism won't make anyone safer from climate change," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, said.
"In a complete sop to big business, Minister Hunt says the government has no intention of fining any big polluters, making it clear that the mechanism is designed to fail.
"For example, AGL, the country's biggest polluter, gets cash through Direct Action and is allowed to increase its overall current emissions.
"The mechanism is a toothless tiger that will allow big businesses to pollute more than they do today without having to pay anything toward the damage this will cause.
"Instead taxpayers are being slugged for the government's ineffective Direct Action policy, while big polluters get off scott-free.
"The government has set the baseline year as the highest year of emissions in the past five years. To act on climate change we need to reduce emissions, not allow big business to pollute as much as they have in the past five years.
"Mining companies' big donations to the Abbott Government have certainly paid off. They're allowed to change the goal posts by resetting their baseline twice in the next ten years.
"Instead of encouraging a transition to a low carbon economy by incentivising industries such as renewable energy, the government is saying to big polluters, 'just keep on polluting and taxpayers will pick up the tab'.
"The Abbott Government is making it harder for the job-rich renewable energy to get off the ground and instead locking Australia into the fossil fuel industries of the past that are already shedding jobs because they're in structural decline.
"After President Obama said yesterday that leaders who do not take climate change seriously are not fit to lead, the Abbott Government has again shown a complete lack of leadership and further cemented Australia as a climate laggard," Senator Waters said.