Australia poised for a clean energy future

November 8th, 2011 by Press Office of the Prime Minister of Australia

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere causes ocean acidification, which is known to harm coral reefs such as Australia's Great Barrier Reef (click image to expand)

The Australian Government has secured a clean energy future for its citizens.

For the first time, Australia’s biggest polluters will have to pay for every tonne of carbon pollution they emit, which will deliver:

  • A cut to carbon pollution of at least 160 million tonnes a year in 2020;
  • Tax cuts and increases to household payments and pensions for millions of Australians;
  • A clean energy economy with new economic opportunities and clean energy jobs.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the passing of Australia’s Clean Energy legislation through the Australian Senate was a major milestone in the country’s efforts to cut carbon pollution and seize the economic and job opportunities of the future.

This history-making vote turns years of discussion into a reality.

Both Houses have now approved the Gillard Government’s Clean Energy plan which will cut carbon pollution by at least 160 million tonnes a year in 2020 – the equivalent to taking 45 million cars off the road.

Australia will do this by putting a price on pollution, fostering renewable energy technologies, encouraging energy efficiency and creating opportunities to reduce pollution on the land.

Australia’s Clean Energy legislation will also deliver fair and generous assistance to householders while giving certainty to business and investors about Australia’s move to a low pollution economy.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said the 18 Bills comprising the Clean Energy legislative package represented one of the most important economic reforms in Australia’s history.

Treasury modelling shows the Gillard Government’s carbon price will reduce emissions and drive investment in clean energy while ensuring the economy continues to prosper, with 1.6 million jobs to be created by 2020.

For most people, the Gillard Government’s comprehensive household assistance package will cover, and in many cases exceed, any price rises passed on by businesses:

Nine out of ten households will receive compensation from a combination of tax cuts and increases to family benefits;

Almost six million households will receive assistance that covers all of their average price impact;

Over four million households will receive assistance that exceeds their expected average price impact, leaving their household budget better off.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet said the carbon price mechanism would apply to around 500 of the country’s biggest polluters. It is a charge on pollution, not a tax on households or small businesses.

A fixed carbon price of $23 a tonne will apply from 1 July 2012, moving to a flexible price after three years

The initial fixed price stage will provide stability and predictability. This will give businesses time to get used to the new system, to understand their obligations and to start planning ways of reducing their pollution.

Passage of the legislation means the Australian Government will now focus on implementing the carbon price and delivering the substantial household, industry, renewable energy, innovation, land sector and energy efficiency measures contained in the Clean Energy Future Plan.

(click on the Clean Energy Future logo to go to the Australian Government website)

Visit the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Plan for more information.

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Sustainable Guernsey writes “carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for about 100 years once emitted. As carbon dioxide doesn’t honour national boundaries, Australia’s Clean Energy Legislation will benefit all the world’s citizens.  Everyone has a responsibility to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to slow down the global rise in the average atmospheric temperature, the rise in sea level, and the acidification of the ocean.”

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