Our Clean Energy Future
The science on climate change is in and people understand why we need to act now, to avoid dangerous climate change and why we need to act now to secure our part in a clean energy future.If we don’t act now – or that if we delude ourselves into thinking that pretend action, or should I say ‘direct action’ is enough – that as a community we will bear a heavy cost in the long term.This is why we have put a price on carbon.
It has been a long, hard fought, battle to do what is in the best interests of the Australian community and play our part internationally.And the battle won’t stop now. Not when our political opponents are prepared to mislead again and again to stop progress. This is a historic change – a change that will make Australia a more sustainable place.
And, because of the way we have designed our carbon price assistance – by making sure that low income families are better off over all, even before they take up energy efficiency opportunities – I can proudly say that we are also making Australia a fairer place by putting in place this package. No matter how many misrepresentations the leader of the opposition makes about the carbon price. No matter how many three word slogans the members of the opposition repeat. No matter what they claim – and how many times they repeats his wild pronouncements – they will not be true.
This is a great Labor reform and it’s something that we are rightly very proud of and I believe that over time, as the Australian people see the impacts of the package that we have put in place, they will see through the Opposition scare campaign.
I am proud of this package – our Clean Energy Future Package. It is well designed and it says a lot about our government that we have put it together in the face of such a negative fear campaign. It’s pragmatic but ambitious, carefully crafted to support the economy during the transition and secure for Australians our fair share of clean jobs. Most importantly, it will transform our economy in the weeks and years ahead to make us a cleaner, more sustainable nation.
When the carbon price commences next week, the largest polluters in Australia will for the first time pay a price for every tonne of carbon pollution that they put into the atmosphere. This is a historic achievement. But, in putting a price on carbon, Australia will not be leading the world. Rather, we will be joining more than three quarters of the world’s advanced economies that are also putting a price on carbon. And we’ll be doing so with a policy that reduces dangerous pollution in the most economically responsible way. From 2013 there will be more than 33 national and 18 sub-national emissions trading schemes in place around the world. These schemes will cover a combined population of more than 850 million people. And, as an important complement to a carbon price the Government is committed to make sure that 20 per cent share for renewables in our electricity mix by 2020.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme will deliver this commitment. With the carbon price, the RET is estimated to drive in the order of $20 billion investment in large-scale renewable energy by 2020, with much of this occurring in regional Australia.[ Together, the RET and the carbon price are expected to leverage around $100 billion in private sector investment over the next four decades.
The Clean Energy Future plan includes three other key initiatives:
- the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, designed to leverage increased flows of private finance into Australia’s renewable and broader low emissions energy sector.
- the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which will more effectively co‑ordinate $3.2 billion in support for renewable energy R&D and commercialisation; and
- the $200 million Clean Technology Innovation Program, to support business investment in renewable energy, low emissions technology and energy efficiency;
These programs reflect the Government’s recognition that the carbon price will have a gradual effect and even technologies that are more developed can still face a range of financial obstacles, particularly in this time of continuing uncertainty in international financial markets.
Moving to a clean energy future presents an opportunity for the Australian economy to adapt, change and grow, while leaving a cleaner and more prosperous future for our children and our grandchildren. The Clean Energy Future plan is central to Australia's economic competitiveness for the coming decades when clean energy and low-pollution technologies will be crucial to international competitive advantage. Australians can be confident that we now have in place a comprehensive, coherent, evidence based approach to reducing the risks of climate change.