From Canberra, Greenpeace head of campaigns Stephen Campbell sends this statement:

“We are in the midst of an extreme climate crisis and the Rudd Government’s first budget was an opportunity to show voters that they truly means business on climate change.

“Instead they have let Australia down by not delivering the climate solutions that are at their fingertips right now – renewable energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal.

“The government’s flagship renewable energy fund will not get a single cent over the next year whilst the clean coal scam will receive $31 million. Over the next three years, renewables will get half as much public money than wealthy coal companies pushing CCS.

“Why is the Rudd government buying into the CCS scam which cannot play a role in cutting emissions for at least another 20 years at least, if at all? Just think how much energy we could be generating from renewables in that period of time if we start injecting cash into the solution rather than the problem?

”This is a ‘pollute as usual’ budget that reflects the interests of the fossil fuel lobbyists in Canberra whilst Australians who care about climate change will continue to foot the bill of wealthy coal companies.

”This budget has not redirected any of the $7.8 billion in taxpayer handouts that encourage the continued use of fossil fuels that are driving climate change. 30,000 Australians called for these subsidies to be redirected to renewables and the Rudd government has ignored them.

“Any future review of the taxation system must deal directly with the $7.8 billion in subsidies still going to encourage fossil fuel use. If it doesn’t then it is missing the essential component of cleaning up the tax system.

“Renewable energy is the solution to climate change and the technology is ready right now – it needs a huge injection of cash which can come from reviewing these perverse subsidies.”