Victorian employers, already grappling with rising inflation, interest rates and fuel prices, as well as plummeting business and consumer confidence, have every right to be worried about the Rudd Government’s plans for an emissions trading scheme.
Climate change is real and important and requires a shared global response. The Coalition supports efforts that protect both the planet and Australia. We need an approach to climate change which is both effective and responsible. It is a three pillars approach.
1. International action to both bring in the great emitters and preserve the great rainforests of the world as ‘the lungs of the earth’.
2. A clean energy revolution to clean up rather than close down the power stations. This includes our vision for Australia as a solar continent.
3. An emissions trading scheme which does not tax petrol and groceries with a petrol and transport tax, nor which undermines the clean energy sector.
People who believed the Government would solve climate change by signing the Kyoto protocol and television adverts are in for a shock. The Government’s ETS will impact on the cost of businesses across Australia. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong tried to suggest her trading scheme will only affect Australia’s top 1000 emitting companies. But of course, the flow on costs will be passed right through the business sector.
The Coalition is now working to expose what costs will be imposed under Mr Rudd’s
plans. Because as we know, the devil is always in the detail. We argue that there is a right way and a wrong way to introduce an emissions trading scheme in Australia.
The Wrong Way: A Rush that Risks Jobs and the Clean Energy Sector
The Rudd Government is rushing to introduce an emissions scheme according to a political timetable. As a result, it is risking damage to the Australian economy through an approach which is poorly designed, poorly implemented and poorly managed. Cracks are already appearing in the Government’s plans.
First, it forgot that LPG does not have an excise to be used to offset higher prices. Motorists using this lower emissions fuel now face paying more at the bowser.
Second, we are hearing of grave risks to investment in our Liquid Natural Gas industry. LNG is vital in helping to reduce emissions overseas, particularly in China.
Third, Mr Rudd and Mr Garrett attacked Australia’s solar panel sector with a new means test which led to orders being slashed and staff being laid off. It also made it harder for householders to cut their emissions.
The Rudd Government told business and the community to have their responses to its ETS Green Paper in by 10 September. However, the key Treasury modelling needed by the business sector is being kept secret until at least October. This is unfair and another example of the Government’s political timetable which could lead to mistakes and a flawed model.
Petrol and Cost of Living
Prior to the election, Mr Rudd led Australians to believe that he would cut the price of petrol, groceries and the cost of living, while all the time knowing he was planning to raise prices through his ETS after the election. The Government is now saying it will adopt the Coalition’s plan to offset the fuel excise – but only until after the next election.
The Right Way: The Coalition’s Three Pillars Approach
The Coalition believes that a sensible and responsive ETS is just part of a wider strategy to tackle climate change. We need to back international action. Australia accounts for only 1.4 per cent of global emissions. Simply cutting our own emissions will not reduce global warming. Helping countries like China and India to cut their emissions is vital. Which is why it was wrong for Mr Rudd to slash funding to our international programs that prevented rainforest clearing and which stimulated clean energy investment.
We also support the development of a clean energy revolution at home with a vision for a solar continent. We want to support our solar businesses here in Victoria and other States, not black them out with disincentives like Mr Garrett’s solar panel rebate means test. We also remain committed to cleaning up our existing power stations rather than closing them down as Mr Garrett and others would want. It is also why we back cleaner cars and reducing public transport black spots.
An emissions trading scheme represents an enormous challenge to our business sector. The Government risks turning this challenge into an economic time bomb if it gets it wrong. It is one thing to use climate change as a political weapon. But unless the Government works with employers to get the trading scheme right, the impacts on jobs, growth and investment in Australia could be disastrous.
Via: The Liberal Party of Australia
The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and
In passing, I was listening to ABC NewsRadio yesterday, mid afternoon I recall and was astonished at how many times I heard the term, "climate change" and/or "environment" ... over twelve (12) times in little over 90mins then stopped counting ...