"The announcement of the Government’s in-principle decision to allow the use of high quality international emissions offsets, credits and allowances to help meet our contribution to global emission reduction is a major advance. Ai Group has been arguing the merits of allowing international credits for several years. While further examination and development of this decision remain in the pipeline, this is a critical step towards ensuring that the substantial transitions that lie ahead for Australia can be achieved at least cost. It will help enable an orderly transformation of domestic jobs, regional economies and many of our traditional industries.
"The in-principle international carbon credit decision is a victory for common sense over ideology and recognises that addressing the global problem of accumulating greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere calls for global solutions. There is simply no reason to waste efforts on higher-cost domestic abatement options when credible, high-quality and less expensive alternatives are available abroad.
"The Government’s announcement of the update to the Safeguard Mechanism is a second important step forward. It will allow a number of baseline anomalies that are already impacting some facilities to be addressed and it will facilitate the recognition and correction of any further anomalies that emerge. Close and careful consultation with industry and the broader community will be needed to avoid unintended consequences.
"Ai Group also welcomes the five-yearly policy and long-term ambition review process announced by Minister Frydenberg. This will begin by the end of 2020 and adds critical structure and predictability.
"The just completed review, has been diligent in consulting industry and other stakeholders and we look forward to close involvement on behalf of industry as the regular reviews commence in the next few years.
"Australia has made substantial national emissions reduction commitments through the Paris Agreement, as part of a long-term global transition that will reshape the way many industries do business. Our aim should be for our economy overall and our trade-exposed industries in particular to thrive through that transition.
"Ai Group will continue to have particular focus on ensuring the competitive position of trade-exposed businesses is kept at the forefront of considerations as progress is made on policy design and implementation. There is no environmental or economic sense in measures that simply shift emissions to other countries along with investment and jobs," Mr Willox said.
Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347