Rudd’s proposed national clean coal initiative, first announced last month, would involve the $500 million contribution from the Government on a $1 for $2 basis with big coal companies like BHP, Rio Tinto and Xstrata.
Rudd also criticised the Howard Government’s commitment to real investment in clean coal technology and said the money currently set aside by the Government was only in the vicinity of about $150 million.
“We said ‘not good enough’. We’re putting $500 million on the table purely for clean coal on a $1 for $2 basis with industry, the objective being that that turns into a $1.5 billion fund,” Rudd told ABC Radio.
“We have a critical national interest in making sure our coal exports remain viable into the future and this is a concrete way to help.
“We’ve got to act sensibly in a balanced way, both for our environmental interest and from our economic and jobs interest as well.”
Shadow minister for climate change and the environment Peter Garrett also toured the mining towns and agreed Australia’s future energy needs will have to be met by reducing emissions and through clean coal technologies.
“We announced something quite significant here and that means that we’ll produce energy in a way which actually reduces our emissions – we meet the challenge of climate change, but we ensure that coal communities have got viability,” Garrett said.