Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hundreds make submissions on CPRS Green Paper

As of today, the Department of Climate Change has published more than 900 public submissions on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) Green Paper. My submission (No. 398) has only recently appeared, so I can only surmise that there must have been a flood of submissions on the last day or many late submissions were accepted, as mine was sent mid-afternoon on the deadline, Wednesday 10 September.

The responsiveness of the bureaucracy in making the submissions available has been decidedly poor. Add to that the possibility of substantial numbers of submissions made confidentially that will never see the light of day, and I think the transparency of this process leaves much to be desired.

While a late submission from the Business Council of Australia (No. 812) is now open to scrutiny, what other organisations and lobbyists have submitted under a veil of secrecy, hopeful of influencing the Government's decision while avoiding the need for a difficult public defence of their arguments? The Department of Climate Change should report on how many confidential submissions were made, and at the very least give an indication of the numbers submitted by category - for example, by industry associations and lobbyists.

On a more positive note, the sheer scale of submissions is indicative of the importance accorded by the public to framing effective policy to address dangerous climate change. Many environmental groups, community organisations, businesses with a sustainability focus and individuals have taken the trouble to argue the case for strong action on climate. Good on them!

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