The Government today released details of the next steps in its action on cutting pollution and moving to a clean energy future.
On February 24, 2011, the Government released its framework for a carbon price that will cut pollution, drive investment in clean energy, and deliver certainty for businesses to invest in the technologies of the future.
The Government's proposal is that the carbon price will commence on 1 July 2012, subject to the ability to negotiate agreement with a majority in both houses of Parliament and pass legislation this year.
Our intention is to introduce legislation in the Spring sittings of Parliament. The full package and details of the carbon price will be announced prior to this.
The announcement of our framework indicated the Government's approach to tackling climate change. The framework provides the basis for community debate and feedback on key issues in the design of a carbon price, including:
To inform both the public debate and the process of designing the carbon price mechanism, the Government commissioned important analyses from leading experts, and established forums for engaging key stakeholders and the wider community.
The Government commissioned Professor Ross Garnaut to update his 2008 Climate Change Review. Professor Garnaut has already delivered six* papers covering topics such as the costs and benefits of action, international action being undertaken, global emissions projections, transforming rural land use, climate change science and carbon pricing to reduce carbon pollution. A further two papers will be delivered by the end of March.
Professor Garnaut will publish the full update by the end of May.
Prior to and after the release of his final update Professor Garnaut will conduct a National Tour including rural areas to explain his work.
The Government commissioned the Productivity Commission to conduct a review into the effective carbon price within a number of our trading partners.
This will help inform the community about the level of action to tackle climate change that is already being undertaken overseas.
The Review is scheduled to be completed by the end of May.
Now that the Government has released a carbon price framework, we can begin the detailed aspects of treasury modelling.
Without decisions on the framework none of this modelling would have been able to commence. Final decisions regarding the detailed design of the scheme will be informed by these modelling results.
It is the Government's intention to release this modelling upon its completion in order to further inform the community about the expected transformation of the Australian economy by pricing carbon.
The Government has set up two roundtables in order to engage the business community as well as NGO, environment groups and the unions.
These Roundtables will continue to meet and are playing a valuable role in informing the development of a carbon price.
The release of the Government's proposed framework will help guide these discussions and make them more useful for all participants.
To help facilitate this process the Government is forming two sub-groups to the Business Roundtable.
The first group will be the Industry Transitional Assistance Working Group which will provide industry feedback on appropriate transitional arrangements for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries and the unique circumstances faced by industries such as the liquefied natural gas and coal industries.
The second group will be the Energy Sector Working Group which will look at the treatment of electricity generation sector in order to protect our energy security.
Further to this the Government will be forming a new sub group to the NGO Roundtable.
This will be a group focused on Household Assistance Working Group. The group will examine the likely impacts of a carbon price and the appropriate assistance to be provided.
Finally, the Government will also form a separate Land Sector Working Group which will focus on the benefits and opportunities for the land sector under a carbon price.
Further details of these sub groups, including membership, will be announced in the near future.
In addition to these processes, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency is forming an Industry and NGO Liaison Group to keep peak bodies informed of carbon pricing developments and to provide an avenue through which stakeholders can exchange their views on technical matters regarding the carbon price mechanism.
The Government also recently announced the formation of the independent Climate Commission, headed by Professor Tim Flannery.
The Climate Commission is tasked with helping build understanding of the science and economics of climate change throughout the community.
The Climate Commission will be holding public forums across Australia in the coming months including in locations such as, Northern NSW, Canberra, Launceston, Bunbury, Ballarat, Tamworth, Sunshine Coast, Whyalla, Liverpool and Townsville.
The first forum will be held in Geelong, Victoria this Friday.
The Commission will also continue to engage with stakeholders and the media to help inform the public debate.
23 March 2011
*Garnaut Update #7 released today.