Our record over time on climate policy
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.