Senator Nick Xenophon
Senator Nick Xenophon AAP Image - Gary Schafer

Saving the Climate Change Authority 'not a waste of time'

INDEPENDENT Senator Nick Xenophon has rejected claims saving the Climate Change Authority was a waste of time, after a deal on climate policy was reached on Wednesday.

Sen Xenophon was a key player in talks that led to the deal that secured a future for the authority and the Abbott government's $2.5 billion emissions reduction fund.

The key role for the authority will be to conduct an 18-month review of a potential emissions trading scheme, after the government abolished the carbon tax.

But after the deal was reached on Wednesday, environmental groups criticised the agreement for not ensuring an ETS would be created, and that the government has previously ignored the authority's advice.

Sen Xenophon, who got several measures included in the deal to ensure enforcement for companies who polluted more than they were supposed to, defended the authority.

He told Sky News on Thursday that irrespective of the current government, ultimately an ETS would have to be discussed again.

"So at least there's some architecture now that won't need to be re-formed down the track," he said.

His comments came as the government extended Senate sittings on Thursday to pass its carbon farming initiative bill this week.

While Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said in the chamber that the sittings were needed to get the bill passed, The Greens Senator Christine Milne questioned the urgency.

The debate was expected to continue late on Thursday, with the government having just two more sittings weeks this year to pass the legislation.

- APN NEWSDESK


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