The Greens are staging a new Senate clash with demands for a ban on new coal and gas

“Greens have major concerns about other parts of the scheme, such as the widespread use of offsets and emissions reduction targets, but we are prepared to put those concerns aside and give Labour’s scheme a chance if Labor agrees not to open new coal and gas projects.”

But the Greens have yet to unveil the wording of their legislative amendment, showing how the new law could prevent any company from opening a new coal and gas project, as decisions about those projects are made under a separate environmental law.

“Coal and gas are driving the climate crisis, but Labor wants more.”

Green leader Adam Bandt

Bandt did not say that the Greens would reject the protection mechanism if he did not get the amendment, and he did not issue a statement indicating that the party would reject the entire system, just as it had joined the coalition to bring it about to block Labor’s emissions trading scheme in 2009.

Greens are also tabling amendments to the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund and the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, without saying they would vote against the two measures if they don’t get what they want.

Green Party spokesman for housing Max Chandler-Mather said the $10 billion fund was the wrong way to address affordability given that a maximum of $500 million in revenue would be released each year to subsidize housing providers, which not sufficient in his opinion.

Chandler-Mather requested $5 billion per year for permanent housing and $1 billion for First Nations housing each year.


The Grattan Institute’s economic policy program director, Brendan Coates, dismissed a key criticism from the Greens and the coalition on Tuesday – that the fund could not invest in housing if returns on the $10 billion in any given year were negative.

Coates, who set up a program similar to the fund two years ago, said government policy will allocate funds to housing projects and provide the subsidies even if returns are lower in some years than others.

Independent Senator David Pocock is also seeking changes to the housing fund to allow more homes to be built and maximize pressure on Labor to increase spending to secure a deal.

As for the recovery fund, Greens want it to be banned from investing in projects that are “inconsistent with Australia’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions” – a provision aimed at preventing the fund from investing money in embark on gas and coal projects.

Industry Secretary Ed Husic, who has held talks with Bandt to pave the way for a Senate agreement, has described the recovery fund as an investor in manufacturing, medical, clean energy and other projects rather than energy infrastructure.

When asked if he could change the wording of the amendment in those negotiations, Bandt said he was willing to listen to the government’s arguments on how the bill could be changed.

Break through the noise of federal politics with news, perspective and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up for our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here. The Greens are staging a new Senate clash with demands for a ban on new coal and gas

Callan Tansill

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