“The Federal Opposition’s climate change action plan, released today, could provide a platform for bipartisanship to deliver the energy and climate change policy durability needed to support the critical transformation to a lower emission future,” Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Australia needs durable, national, integrated climate change and energy policies capable of delivering Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target, at lowest possible cost, while maintaining competitiveness and growing Australia’s future economy,” Ms Westacott said.
“The last thing Australia needs is to start from scratch on carbon policy. With the support of business and the community in developing specific measures, the Opposition’s plan could build a bridge from the existing regulatory frameworks to the first phase of their proposed emissions trading scheme.
“It is encouraging that the Opposition intends to finalise the design of the second phase of the emissions trading scheme with other parliamentary parties, business and stakeholders,” she said.
Ms Westacott said Australia must begin the careful transformation of our economy if we are to achieve our lower emission future. Energy and climate change policies should be national and bi- partisan, wherever possible.
The Business Council supports consideration of complementary measures to reduce emissions focused on:
- Shifting the mix of power sources away from higher emission technologies and toward low or zero emission technologies while managing community transition.
- Encouraging greater energy efficiency.
- Better managing land use.
- Encouraging adoption of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
“The Opposition action plan includes a number of measures in support of these objectives and a detailed co-design process with industry will be critical to ensuring unnecessary costs are not pushed on to other sectors of the economy or the community,” Ms Westacott said.
“The Opposition’s differentiated approach to key sectors of the Australian economy is welcome and the Business Council would work with a Labor government to maintain the competiveness of the Australian economy.
“Even at relatively high carbon prices, Australia will require access to international permits to achieve its future emission reduction targets – particularly an ambitious target to reduce Australia’s emissions by 45 per cent of 2005 level emissions by 2030.
“The Opposition’s suite of policies should provide unlimited access to credible international permits to all sectors of the Australian economy to ensure Australia keeps pace with global decarbonisation efforts at lowest possible cost.
“It is disappointing the Opposition would take a gamble and commit Australia to a 45 per cent emissions reduction target at 2030 without a full understanding of the cost of achieving such an ambitious target.
“Any increases to Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target should occur through the five-yearly reviews established under the Paris Agreement (commencing in 2020).
“This will enable Australia to make this judgement once the policy landscape is clearer; the trajectory for technological improvement is better known; and the availability and price of international permits can be broadly determined,” she said.