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Businesses reap carbon bonanza


| Sourced From The Sydney Morning Herald |

NSW businesses are reaping a bonanza from a new greenhouse fund, receiving more than five times the amount in subsidies from the State Government than they would from the Commonwealth, the NSW Opposition says.

Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said the inaugural report of the NSW Climate Change Fund revealed companies and government agencies had received $27 million to reduce their carbon footprint.

But the report also confirmed that greenhouse gas emissions had only come down by 127,000 tonnes, meaning the Rees Government was paying emitters $214 a tonne.

As part of its new emissions trading scheme, the Rudd Government has capped the cost of greenhouse gases at $40 a tonne for the next five years.

“The Rees Government is subsidising the business sector at a rate of fivefold that of Canberra,” Mr O’Farrell said. “Here in NSW, the Government has clearly lost control of this program.”

Mr O’Farrell calculated the state had spent $27 million to reduce emissions by less than 0.1 per cent.

He argued the Government could have achieved the same reduction by buying carbon offsets for about $28 a tonne from commercial websites, saving $23.5 million.

But yesterday, acting Premier Carmel Tebbutt said that suggestion showed Mr O’Farrell had no idea how to achieve emission reductions.

“We are transforming the NSW economy to prepare business and the community for a carbon-constrained future. Some early costs are one-off and substantial, and these are reflected in the Government’s report.”

The report found the major sources of money for the fund were annual contributions from publicly owned water and power suppliers, such as Energy Australia, Integral Energy and Sydney Water. But Sydney Water also received about $3.7 million from the fund to support a water recycling project.

Major property developers and fund and portfolio managers also received public funding, including more than $1.5 million for projects run by EP&T, a company chaired by the former Sydney Olympics chief Sandy Hollway.

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