Environment Minister Greg Hunt insists the coalition’s direct action plan will ensure Australia meets its emission reduction target, saying the job is easier than he first thought.
The government’s direct action program, which uses revegetation and improving soil carbon to soak up emissions, is capped at $2.88 billion over four years.
Doubts were cast during the election campaign over whether the target five per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 could be achieved with only that amount of money.
Mr Hunt said he argued for the cap on spending because that was a responsible way to budget.
“We’ll not just reach our target, we’ll reach them easily,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
Departmental briefings to the new minister had revealed that “on early, preliminary unofficial advice” the gap in tonnes of emissions to reduce was a lot lower than previous estimates.
“It means that our task is 60 per cent of what the government had previously been saying,’ Mr Hunt said.
He reiterated calls for Labor to “step out of the way” and let the coalition repeal the carbon tax legislation.
But he said the tax would continue to be collected until that happened.
“The law is the law until it’s changed. Until the ALP steps out of the way the carbon tax is there,” he said.
He still believed Labor would let the repeal legislation pass, despite leadership hopefuls Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten both saying they’d oppose it.“Whilst they’ve been objecting to the principle, there are areas where it’s clear they have not categorically ruled out stepping aside in the Senate,” Mr Hunt said.