By Joel Scanlon
Bob Brown the Australian Greens leader said that the coal mining industry helped to cause the worst floods that Queensland has seen in 40 years and so they should take major share of the responsibility for them.
Mr Brown wants the federal government to impose the original version of the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT) and then use the collected funds to pay for the cleanup.
In Hobart Sunday Mr Brown said that burning coal was the single biggest cause of climate change and the coal mining industry should take responsibility for the weather events that we are seeing unfolding now. He did not want the billions of dollars of cost to be left for the ordinary tax payer to bear the brunt of.
He refused suggestions that he was politicizing the crisis in Queensland by saying that burning of fossil fuels was responsible for the hottest oceans that we’ve seen off Australia. Scientists are saying very clearly that this is responsible for the quite extraordinary and harrowing floods that were seen.
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said in response that Mr Brown should remember that the floods have affected not just the mining companies but hundreds of workers. Their families and local communities have also taken a hit.
He said that this was not the time for pointing the finger but for pulling together. Offers of support were coming from around the country and world in this time of crisis. Among the mining companies, Xstrata has donated $1 million and Rio Tinto $700,000 to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal while BHP has pledged $1 million.