Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard today outlined the Government's plan to cut pollution, tackle climate change and deliver the economic reform Australia needs to move to a clean energy future.
This is an essential economic reform, and it is the right thing to do, she said in a Press Release issued by her office..
The two-stage plan for a carbon price mechanism will start with a fixed price period for three to five years before transitioning to an emissions trading scheme.
The Government will propose that the carbon price commences on 1 July 2012, subject to the ability to negotiate agreement with a majority in both houses of Parliament and pass legislation this year.
'A carbon price is a price on pollution. It is the cheapest and fairest way to cut pollution and build a clean energy economy. The best way to stop businesses polluting and get them to invest in clean energy is to charge them when they pollute, ' she said.
Officials believe businesses with the highest levels of pollution will have a very strong incentive to reduce their pollution. The Prime Minister vowed that he government will use every cent raised to:
- Assist families with household bills
- Help businesses make the transition to a clean energy economy
- Tackle climate change
' The Government will not shy away from this difficult but vital economic reform to move Australia to a clean energy nation,' said the Prime Minister
The global economy is shifting, she noted, and Australia is at risk of falling behind the rest of the world. The longer we wait, the greater the cost to the economy, and the greater the cost to Australian jobs.
An initial fixed carbon price will provide businesses with a stable and predictable platform to transition to a 'cap and trade' emissions trading scheme that will be linked to international carbon markets.
It is expected this will give businesses time to understand their carbon liability and begin the transformation in a steady and purposeful way.
The framework has been agreed by Government and Greens members of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC), the Prime Minister's office notes. The Committee will continue to discuss other important elements of the proposal including the starting level of the fixed price, any phasing in of sectors of the economy, and assistance for both households and industry.