Prime Minister Gillard has been presented with an immediate challenge to show leadership on climate change, with Trade Minister Simon Crean due to formalise an agreement to export massively polluting brown coal to Vietnam in Melbourne this afternoon.
The Prime Minister must step in, cancel this deal immediately and instruct her Trade Minister to focus on export deals for renewable energy technology instead.
"You cannot be serious about climate action if you are willing to open up a whole new massively polluting export industry," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne.
"Prime Minister Gillard has the opportunity to stamp her climate leadership on this government and cancel the deal to export brown coal before it is signed, telling her Trade Minister to focus on export deals that will help the climate, not hurt it.
"Brown coal is the most polluting fuel we have. Pumping energy into transforming it into the equivalent of black coal will only increase pollution at home and overseas.
"We simply cannot afford to open up a whole new polluting export industry. Every tonne of this coal burned in Vietnam will come back to bite us with worse bushfires, drought, floods and more.
"One of the key climate failures of governments around Australia and the world has been to see one arm of government cancelling out the efforts of others.
"What use is working with Minister Wong to pass the bill to fix the Renewable Energy Target yesterday if Ministers Crean and Ferguson are going to more than cancel out the greenhouse benefits the next day?
"I and Senator Brown look forward to working constructively with Prime Minister Gillard and her government to get Australia moving forward on climate action."