Greens propose plan to wean Australia off coal

A seven-point policy plan to wean the Australian economy and electricity network off coal, has been unveiled by the Greens, including an immediate ban on all new coal and gas projects, a tax on coal exports and a carbon price.

Following on the heels of federal Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan, the Greens’ 7-point plan – released on Thursday – aims to put an “urgent brake” on Australia’s fossil fuel emissions, while also investing in large-scale clean energy.

The plan, which would raise revenue by placing a levy on coal exports and “ending tax-free fuel” for mining companies, includes a $1 billion Clean Energy Transition Fund to help workers exit the coal industry.

It would also invest in the health of the Great Barrier Reef, which is already feeling the effects of global warming, with as much as 90 per cent of its coral affected by bleaching.

“Governments need to intervene here – not to prop up the dying coal industry, but to help coal workers get out and to protect the thousands of jobs that rely on the health of Australia’s stunning natural assets,” said Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, from Cairns’s Lizard Island.

“It’s been devastating to see the bleached coral today, and to hear about the ecological and economic impacts from reef scientists and local tourism operators. We have to turn this around.

“Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition are dumb and dumber when it comes to the subject of coal. They’ve sold out to their fossil fuel donors, handing out billions of dollars in subsidies and approvals for new coal and gas projects when this is an industry in decline.

“Coal is going down – that’s a market reality – but only the Greens have a plan to make sure workers and the Reef don’t go down with it.”

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