Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s commission of audit not allowed to cost Abbott’s “Direct Action” climate policy

Abbott-shhhhAudit not privy to multibillion-dollar direct action plan to reduce emissions April 24, 2014  Lisa Cox  National political reporter The Abbott government’s multibillion-dollar “direct action” carbon reduction plan was not considered by the commission of audit, and key details of the scheme remain unknown.

 The head of the audit of government spending, Tony Shepherd, told Fairfax Media that the commission had not considered the controversial $3.2 billion policy because it was not provided with any details.

The comments come ahead of the imminent release of the government’s “direct action” white paper – expected as early as Thursday – elements of which have been closely guarded by the office of Environment Minister Greg Hunt. The paper is expected to clarify key pieces of information, including how “direct action” will work and the mechanisms behind the key component of the policy, the $1.55 billion emissions reduction fund.

Mr Shepherd said on Wednesday the commission had been unable to assess “direct action” because there was no information available on the policy during the three months it was conducting its review.

“The Commission of Audit couldn’t really look at it because we didn’t have a policy to look at,” he said.

“If they had a policy and it was out there we would have had a look at it, but in the absence of any detail we couldn’t.”

Mr Shepherd said that as a result, the commission’s report contained no information on “direct action”, although he did not necessarily view that as a problem, despite the scheme carrying a price tag of up to $3.2 billion.

“There’s a number of other government policies and things that are evolving at the moment,” he said.

“You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.”

The government is facing a tough battle to win over MPs with its plan to replace Labor’s carbon tax.

Labor and the Greens do not support “direct action” and Fairfax MP Clive Palmer declared this week that his Palmer United Party also would not back the “hopeless” policy.

Mr Palmer has threatened to reconsider his position on the carbon and mining taxes if the government does not bring direct action legislation to the Senate for debate.


April 24, 2014 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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