Landfill costs a mystery

Ratepayers and councils can still not be told how much they will have to pay for carbon emissions from landfill, even though the carbon tax has been in existence for almost a year.

Senator Ian Macdonald, Opposition spokesman for Northern and Remote Australia said the newly formed Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education was unable to answer questions in Senate Estimates hearings last night about how much local government authorities will have to pay.

This hearing was an absurdity, Senator Macdonald said.

These are some of our most highly paid and highly regarded public servants and they could barely answer my questions on how emissions are calculated for local government landfill.

Officials said that councils had to self-assess the emissions that will be created by landfill, and report these assessments to the Clean Energy Regulator in order to avoid compliance penalties. The councils concerned are those like Darwin City Council that have been placed on the liable entity database by the Regulator.

At this stage said Senator Macdonald it all appears to be based on guess-work.

The Department has no way of independently measuring the make-up of the landfill, no way of predicting the levels of emissions that will occur, and no idea how it is, in fact, going to generate the $6.266 billion in revenue that they claim this program will raise.

The 25,000 kilo-tonne per annum emissions threshold for liability under the program is clear, but how this will be measured, and how the system will be enforced, remains a complete mystery.

Senator Macdonald specifically asked the Departments representatives: ..are councils 100 per cent clear on what they have to do and what the penalities are

The reply he received from officials was that I wouldnt want to say that, and there is a growing understanding.

These astonishing replies just go to show how out of touch with reality the government is. The very first thing they should be doing is communicating with the people they are imposing this ridiculous system upon, Senator Macdonald said.

The people of Regional and Remote Australia are once again being left in the dark.

The sooner we can completely rid Australia of this carbon tax fiasco, the better for everyone, Local Government especially.

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