PM launches plan for 'a clean energy future'

Following the Multi Party Climate Change Committee's agreement on a plan to reduce carbon pollution, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the long anticipated package on 10 July. She said that this will enable Australia to seize a clean energy future and build on it.

"The science is in," the Prime Minister said. "We know the planet is warming and this warming is the result of carbon pollution and human action."

She said after more than a decade of debate, false starts and missed steps, now is the time to get this done.

Setting a starting price for carbon pollution at $23 per tonne, from 2015 a market mechanism will then come into being through an emissions trading scheme. The aim is to achieve a five per cent reduction in emissions based on 2000 levels by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050.

The Prime Minister said this would be the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road.

She said the package will be legislated later this year and, with a start date of 1 July 2012, it will enable the high polluters to start planning for a cleaner energy future.

The Plan has the following planks:

  • a carbon price mechanism to encourage polluters to introduce cleaner operations so as to reduce their carbon price costs
  • the revenue collected will provide assistance for nine out of ten households, support jobs, assist high emission and trade exposed industries, and promote renewable and clean energy alternatives
  • promote greater energy efficiency.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said that the longer we delay on this, the higher the ultimate costs will be.

"We want to pass on a better world and a stronger economy to our children and grandchildren," he said. "This is environmental reform as well as fundamental economic reform that has been comprehensively modeled by Treasury. We can make this transition while maintaining strong growth and jobs."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott described it as "a toxic tax and a bad tax based on a lie".

After the launch of the package he said that ten per cent of households would receive nothing by way of compensation, while 60 per cent would be "worse off" or, at best ,"line ball".

Renewing his call for an early election, Tony Abbott questioned the point of the carbon tax, asserting that it will not reduce emissions.