Gillard Government moves to cut pollution and drive clean energy jobs
The Gillard Government this week introduced legislation to build a stronger economy and a better environment for all Australians. The Clean Energy Future (CEF) legislative package will drive investment in clean energy jobs, and at the same time cut carbon pollution by up to 160 million tonnes in 2020 – the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road.
“It is critical the Parliament passes this legislation so that we are not left behind in the global race to cleaner energy jobs and investment,” Senator Ursula Stephens said. “It is equally critical that we do our fair share to tackle climate change – the rest of the world is acting, and if we don’t start to transition our economy now the task will become more difficult and costly the more we delay.”
The legislative package includes provisions to establish a national carbon pricing mechanism, to commence on 1 July 2012. The carbon price will be paid by around 500 big businesses responsible for the largest amounts of carbon emissions.
“Economists have consistently advised that a carbon price is the cheapest and most effective way to cut carbon pollution,” noted Senator Stephens. “To assist households manage any flow on price impacts from a carbon price, the legislation also provides for tax cuts, family payment and pensions increases and other forms of assistance. Some payment and pension increases will be paid before the carbon price commences to ensure those on lower incomes are well covered”.
Senator Stephens said the Government had deliberately tailored its household assistance to lower and middle income earners, with almost 6 million households to receive assistance to cover their expected average price impact.
She said the Government would also support jobs as industries transitioned to cleaner energy solutions. “Australia has the highest per capita carbon pollution levels of all developed countries due to our reliance on burning fossil fuels and other heavy emitting industrial processes. If we want our children to grow up in a healthy environment, and if we want them to benefit from the new jobs and investment that will be created in the clean energy global economy, then we need to take action now.”