Landmark Australia Clean Energy Future bill passed
- 12 October 2011
MELBOURNE: Today the Clean Energy legislative package was passed through Australia's House of Representatives, which will help Australia embrace the economic and social opportunities of the Clean Revolution, by boosting investment in clean energy technologies, providing an incentive for businesses to cut carbon emissions and creating new green jobs into the future.
The 19 Bills which make up the Clean Energy Future package were passed in Australia's Parliament's Lower House by 74 votes to 72, with support from the Green MP as well as three independent members. The Bill is due to go before the Senate in November and is expected to pass due to the Greens holding the balance of power in the Upper House.
The passage of the Clean Energy Future package will allow liable businesses that have been awaiting the outcome of the political debate, to forge ahead with action to reduce their carbon footprint and therefore their liability under the scheme.
The package includes:
- the carbon pricing scheme - which sets a fixed price on carbon for three years before moving to a fully market-based ETS - will come into operation on July 1, 2012
- Clean Energy Finance Corporation will also be created with $10 billion of funding to invest in renewable energy schemes
- $9.2 billion allocated over the first three years for industry assistance
Caroline Bayliss, Director Australia, The Climate Group says: "The passage of the Clean Energy Future legislation brings much needed certainty to business, which is crucial to getting the investment we need to accelerate and scale up the renewable energy and energy efficiency measures that will drive Australia's Clean Revolution. Businesses now have a clear and unequivocal message that from July next year, it will cost them to pollute. They now have the impetus they need to assess how they can minimize their liability under the scheme and how they can minimize their carbon footprint – and they need to act now.”
Steve Sargent, President and CEO of GE in Australia and New Zealand said in a statement: “Today’s decision is a significant step to ensure Australia moves ahead with our leading trading partners. It is a fantastic opportunity for Australian businesses to demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and leadership to help progress Australia’s transformation to become a low carbon economy.”
But despite the positive move today, opposition leader Tony Abbott has threatened to repeal the legislation if the conservative coalition wins government before the scheme starts. Caroline Bayliss comments: "The conservative coalition must provide certainty to businesses, local and state governments and the community by not unpacking the legislation if they get into government before the commencement of the scheme. The line has been drawn in the sand – Australia needs to move forward to embrace the positive opportunities of a low carbon future that this legislation presents, rather than look backward.”
Responding to Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard's initial announcement in July, Caroline Bayliss said: “This package is the first big step towards a clean economic and technological revolution that is the only way of securing long term prosperity and quality of life for Australians. It is more than a carbon tax - it is a comprehensive suite of measures that together can not only reduce our emissions, but also encourage growth of innovative, green technologies, industries and jobs.”
In July, The Climate Group Australia also published a Policy Briefing Paper in reaction to the Clean Energy Plan announcement.