"Climate change policy needs to get more predictable, disciplined and transparent to underpin the business investment needed to meet our challenging climate goals, and the Federal Government's legislation tabled in Parliament today is a positive start," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of national employer association Ai Group said today.
"Transforming our energy systems and upgrading our industries for low- and zero-carbon production will take big long-lived investments starting now. Industry weighing up big decisions about where, when and how to invest need the clearest steer they can get about national goals and public policy. Business will study the Climate Bill and its companion amendments in detail and suggest improvements where we can. But in their current form they represent a very big improvement on the status quo – and the broader the support they receive, the stronger the basis for investment will be and that will underpin our ability to meet other economic and social objectives including high employment growth and improving living standards.
"Too often we've seen climate policy flip back and forth with political winds; governments pursue contradictory goals via uncoordinated action; and industry and other stakeholders shut out from having a clear say on policy and progress. The process set out in the Bills would greatly improve that, with clear goals for all relevant arms of government and the public to refer to, strong transparency and independent advice drawing on public input to shape the future of targets.
"43% by 2030 is clearly a floor and not the end of the story, not least because Australia will need to develop a deeper 2035 target as part of the Paris Agreement process over the next three years. But we should not underestimate the challenge of the current target.
"Electricity transition is now urgent for security and affordability reasons as much as climate, in the wake of this winter's coal failures and lasting fuel price rises driven by the invasion of Ukraine. That transition is complex and fraught, however. And beyond electricity generation, storage and transmission lie the needs to raise energy efficiency, help gas users shift to alternatives that suit their needs, accelerate transport transition and much more.
"A coherent framework for national policy making will make those tasks less difficult. And beyond these Bills it is important to negotiate agreement with the States and Territories on similar coordination around shared goals, especially in the National Electricity Market and Eastern Australian Domestic Gas Market and the bodies that govern them.
"Achieving our 2030 target and all the targets that will follow, to 2050 and beyond, will take sustained effort by all of us across the lives of many governments. Targets and policies will evolve in the face of scientific advice, industry experience, technological innovation, and healthy competition in the political sphere. Success will depend on broad and sustained support for our destination and the framework for getting there," Mr Willox said.
Tony Melville – 0419 190 347