CLIMATE POLICY REVIEW AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD

The Australian Government’s 2017 Review of Climate Change Policies is an important step forward in developing a long-term sustainable approach to climate change policy.

The Minerals Council of Australia commends the Government for a balanced approach to achieving sustainable CO2 reductions while recognising the need for Australia to remain internationally competitive.

The MCA noted in its submission to the Review that Australia has a strong record in meeting climate change targets and addressing carbon emissions. Australia has outperformed most developed and major developing nations over the past 25 years in limiting the growth of emissions.

The Government has signalled its intention to build on this strong record and the current policy framework through a clear pathway of five-yearly reviews, a long-term framework, baselines using recent data and access to international carbon offsets.

Access to international carbon units will give Australia more avenues for reducing emissions, including by supporting carbon abatement projects in developing countries, such as reducing deforestation, combating illegal logging and restoring coastal and marine environments.

This will ensure our emissions reduction efforts are environmentally effective and economically efficient, helping to meet Australia’s Paris commitments at the lowest cost. This is critical for securing long-term investment in the Australian resources sector. It will also allow Australia to manage emissions reductions in a way that recognises our unique circumstances while providing certainty to business and the community.

Similarly, the decision to simplify the safeguards mechanism is a sensible step in refining a long term, robust and sustainable reporting framework.

Australia is a commodity-exporting nation with strong economic and population growth. We have a different emissions profile than many other developed countries – particularly in the European Union – which largely import commodities and industrial goods.

Restoring Australia’s advantage of low-cost, reliable energy while meeting emissions reduction goals must be a policy priority. Over the past decade Australia has moved from having some of the lowest to some of the highest energy prices in the developed world.

Australia cannot settle for policy settings that limit price rises. The goal should be to reduce energy costs. 

The MCA will continue to work with the Government in designing policies which reduce emissions, enhance Australia’s international competitiveness and begin to lower energy costs for businesses and families.

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