Statement on Emissions Reduction Fund Amendments

“Tonight’s announcement by the government of amendments to the Emissions Reduction Fund following discussions with Senator Xenophon and Mr Palmer will help improve the operation and attractiveness of the fund to business,” BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“There are a number positives in the changes proposed.

“The proposal to extend the contract and crediting periods under the Emissions Reduction Fund has the potential to bring forward a larger number of emissions reduction projects, which will further assist in meeting Australia’s target.

“Providing the capacity to include management of the savannah regions of Australia as possible projects for the Emissions Reduction Fund will provide environmental and economic opportunities for parts of regional Australia.

“As a result of tonight’s announcements, the Climate Change Authority (CCA) has been charged with a very important role in assessing and providing advice to the Parliament on what emissions trading schemes are in place internationally, and what Australia’s emissions reduction target should be.

“We welcome the assurance by CCA Chairman Bernie Fraser that the process will be comprehensive and transparent and look forward to the CCA consulting extensively with business and the broader community.

“In considering what emissions trading schemes other countries have in place, the CCA will need to consider not only the design of national emissions trading schemes, but also what competitor nations are doing at the industry sector and sub-national level, to ensure we understand competitiveness impacts.

“It will also be essential that the CCA undertake economic modelling to assess the economic and social implications of different Australian greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments, relative to those pledged by other similarly wealthy countries and major competitors.

“It is disappointing that the government has not supported the creation of a strategic reserve of international emissions reduction permits to provide an important buffer and enhance Australia’s capacity to achieve its bipartisan target to reduce emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 at a lower cost.

“The Business Council stands ready to work with the Parliament to find an approach that can stand the test of time by reducing emissions at least cost while protecting the competitiveness of industries which are critical to the Australian economy.

“The Business Council will contribute constructively to discussions designed to achieve the best outcome for the environment and the economy,” Ms Westacott said.

For further information contact:
Matt Newton, Communications Adviser
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2627 • Mobile 0409 550 578