Carbon pollution from landfill an economic and environmental opportunity for councils and communities

The Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus, today joined the Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird and the Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones, to talk with local councils about opportunities to earn income by reducing dangerous CO2-equivalent gases from their landfill sites.

Mr Dreyfus told local councils, including Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Wingecarribee and Sutherland, they could be eligible to earn to carbon credits by capturing the gas and flaring it, or turning it into electricity to earn Renewable Energy Certificates.

Examples of councils taking a lead in these areas include Tweed Heads which has reduced is gas pollution so significantly, it will not have to pay any carbon price, while Newcastle City Council generates enough electricity from its captured landfill gas to power 3000 homes.

“These financial rewards can be used to pay any carbon price liability, if it is a big landfill site, or re-invested in community projects or returned to ratepayers,” said Mr Dreyfus.

Federal Member of Cunningham, Sharon Bird said any rate rises associated with landfill have been taken into account in the Federal Government’s assistance to households.

“The Federal Government’s average weekly household assistance of $10.10 per household will amply cover any rate rises, estimated to be as low as 13 to 40 cents a week. This assistance has already started to be delivered through pension increases, family payments and tax cuts,” said Ms Bird.

Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones said the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future Plan also provides $220 million in energy efficiency grants to help councils cut pollution and save money through lower energy consumption in community facilities.

“I would encourage councils in the Illawarra region to investigate the opportunities that might be available to reduce emissions and save money that can be reinvested for other community needs,” said Mr Jones.

Mr Dreyfus also spoke at the briefing about the Opposition’s irresponsible and false claims about the impacts of the carbon price.

“The Opposition has been deliberately confusing and scaring the local community about price rises for many months, which unfortunately only serves to assist unscrupulous scammers trying to get away with jacking up prices.

“False and misleading claims are being carefully scrutinised by the ACCC which has the power to issue heavy penalties of up to $1.1 million dollars to those caught ripping off the public. The ACCC has this week launched a public hotline 1300 303 609. You can call the hotline or find out more at www.accc.gov.au/carbon.”