We support strong action on climate change

For over a decade we have supported strong action on climate change: 

  • We support the science of climate change.
  • We support the Paris Agreement and transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • If we can meet our emissions reduction targets without carryover credits then we should.
  • We support the need for a market-based carbon price to drive the transition and incentivise investment in low and no-emissions technology.
  • Technology needs to drive the transition which will not only get us to a net-zero emissions future but will also create new jobs, opportunities and industries and maintain Australia’s competitiveness.

We supported the Rudd government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), called for an Emissions Intensity Scheme, supported a Clean Energy Target (CET) and most recently worked hard to bring industry and the community together to support the National Energy Guarantee

Today, we continue to advocate for policies that reduce Australia’s carbon emissions and deliver the more carbon efficient economy Australians and our members want.

You can read more about record and policy below:

For more than a decade the Business Council has worked with stakeholders including our members, other industry groups and political leaders on the design and implementation of emissions reductions policies.

Below is a timeline of our support for action to cut emissions and make Australia the most carbon efficient economy in the world.

2006 – Business Council president Michael Chaney called on the Howard government to tackle the issue of climate change, saying:

“[O]nly a clear and unambiguous link between carbon emissions and market value can provide both business and the community with a consistent and long–term motivation to reduce emissions.” – Business Council president Michael Chaney

2008 – The Business Council supported the Rudd Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. At the time we said:

“The Business Council of Australia therefore fully supports the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in Australia capable of international linkages...”Submission on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper, September 2008

2009 – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd acknowledged our work bringing industry and business on board:

"[T]he peak business bodies in Australia, led by the Business Council of Australia, were endorsing this Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme for the future, because the business community needs certainty as well." – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

2009 – After both the Rudd Government and the Opposition agreed to amended CPRS legislation we welcomed the bipartisan support for  action on climate change:

"When passed, the legislation will enable Australian businesses to plan for and make the required decisions about investments to transition Australia to a low–emissions economy." – Business Council president Graham Bradley 

2011 – We worked with the Gillard government on its carbon pricing mechanism, recommending an initial carbon price of $10 per tonne as well as measures to address emissions–intensive trade–exposed industries. We did no support the final packages because it was a fixed price and was out of step with comparable international schemes. 

2012 – We supported the Abbott government's Direct Action Plan to address carbon emissions but continued to call for a market solution, saying:

"We believe the most effective system to reduce emissions is one primarily based on a market solution, such as an emissions trading system" – Business Council of Australia website, Policy Agenda

2017 – We recommended an Emissions Intensity Scheme  to the Finkel Review led by Australia's chief scientist. At the time we said: 

"A signal such as an emissions intensity scheme for electricity is both fuel – and technology–neutral and preserves the broadest range of options to meet future emissions reduction targets" – Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott

2017 – We supported Dr Finkel's recommendation to implement a Clean Energy Target (CET). When that plan was abandoned, we called on the government to:

"[S]uggest what the alternative is going to be – because we need something" – Business Council president Grant King. 

2018 –  Following the demise of the CET, we strongly advocated for the adoption of the National Energy Guarantee, working closely on the design of the scheme and playing a central role in building consensus amongst industry for its implementation.

It was our best chance at a bipartisan solution – and we called for targets to be scalable in the future. At the time we said: 

The Business Council supports the proposed five–yearly review of the electricity emissions target under the Guarantee as it appropriately balances the need for flexibility to meet future national emissions reduction targets.”  – Submission to ESB, March 2018

Today – We are disappointed that after more than a decade Australia still hasn't settled our long–term emissions reductions policy, that's why we continue to advocate for a credible policy that puts us on track reach net–zero emissions by 2050.

  • Adopt an integrated energy and climate change policy which focuses on affordability, reliability, and emissions reduction.
  • This integrated policy must deliver long-term certainty and send a signal to investors to enable them to plan for the future.
  • Support a technology-neutral approach to the energy mix, ensuring the cheapest and most reliable energy generation gets built at the right time and in the right place.
    • Allow all forms of clean energy technologies to succeed based on merit including carbon capture and storage for coal and gas, geothermal, solar, wave or wind. Nuclear energy as a source of lower emissions technology should not be ignored.
  • Replace moratoriums on gas ventures with evidence-based, project-by-project assessments, or find an affordable way of getting gas to the East Coast.
  • Continue to advance gas market reform through the Council of Australian Government's Energy Council.
  • Prevent established gas projects, which have contractual commitments, from being retrospectively forced to supply the domestic market.
    • This would be to impose significant sovereign risk on the gas market and could have a major impact on future investment decisions.

  • Adopt the Business Council’s best practice model for major project approval as a priority to speed up approvals and provide greater certainty for investors and the community.
  • The model supports decision making within 12 months under a single application, single assessment and single approval approach. It involves:
    • greater strategic planning with better community consultation to direct future land uses and conditions for approval
    • giving primary responsibility for approvals to a single agency, eliminating the need for investors to liaise with multiple departments
    • a single application filed after a pre-application consultation process that gives communities a voice right from the start
    • standardised terms of reference, Environmental Impact Statements and conditions of approval
    • a one-year umbrella time frame during which a decision should be made
    • better targeted conditions on approvals that are directly linked to environmental outcomes
    • streamlined administration and compliance through better coordination between agencies
    • published data about time taken by agencies to manage applications, their adherence to best practice and how they can improve.