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Approved stimulus package good news for environment

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Policy

Senator Nick Xenophon

Senator Nick Xenophon has extended a helping hand to the Murray-Darling Basin by helping get the Federal Government's economic stimulus package through the Senate.

Credit: Wikimedia

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The Federal Government has just turned a shade of green, with the new economic stimulus package – complete with several eco-initiatives – passing through the Senate on Friday.

The package was in doubt earlier last week, with the Federal Opposition voting down the bill, forcing the Government to make changes to get the support of the Greens and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

In the process Senator Xenophon secured almost $1 billion for the Murray-Darling Basin, including funds for storm water capture, water buybacks and re-engineering. The new agreement means that when water is available in the system, environmental flows will run quicker and in greater quantity.

As well as funding for the Basin, the approved package includes refurbishments of Heritage buildings and National Parks, rebates for solar hot water systems and insulation investment as well as a substantial investment in bikeways projects.

"We have improved this package to create thousands of green jobs in communities across Australia," Greens Senator Bob Brown said.

Under the plan, home insulation to the value of $1,600 will be available for all homeowners, and could reduce energy bills by $200 per year. The Low Emissions Plan for Renters, designed to encourage landlords to install insulation in their rental properties, has also been increased from $500 to $1,000.

"For the first time ever, a national government is moving to apply energy efficiency standards to future housing, bringing Australia closer to American and European best practice. This will lead to cheaper, greener and more comfortable housing for vulnerable Australians," said Brown.

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