Submission to the review of the Victorian Climate Change Act 2010

The Australian minerals industry acknowledges that sustained global action is required to reduce the scale of human induced climate change.  All nations look to make contributions that are environmentally effective without undermining the economic foundations upon which sustainable contributions can be made.  Victoria, as a centre of research and development, plays an important role in the Australian response while playing an anchoring role in the national electricity market through its bountiful deposits of brown coal and gas. 

The Australian minerals industry has a vital role in enhancing Australia’s prosperity as well as in the global challenge of energy security and sustainable development. 

The MCA is therefore committed to supporting an international response to managing climate change that will deliver effective greenhouse gas emissions abatement, promote business opportunities and not undermine the Australian industry’s competitiveness. 

The MCA does not support state-based climate change policies and legislative regimes because they are at best inefficient and at worst ineffective and counterproductive. 

Successive landmark analyses of climate policy measures have warned against the pursuit of broad-based climate policy measures at the state and territory level.

In 2007, the Productivity Commission argued that climate change policy in Australia was a ‘disjointed patchwork’ of measures across sectors and jurisdictions.  Nearly a decade later, one could argue that this is still the case.   

The 2008 Strategic Review of Australian Government Climate Change Programs (the Wilkins Review), further highlighted the shortcomings of a fragmented policy approach to climate change mitigation.  The Wilkins Review identified more than 200 separate State and Territory climate change programs, the combination of which resulted in a mix of contradictory price signals, incentives and regulations.  The key message from this review was the need for the rationalisation and streamlining of climate change programs, not the addition of yet more incremental policy changes.

The achievement of substantial emissions reductions, without damaging the economy, jobs and living standards, will require finding the lowest cost emissions abatement initiatives across the national economy.  The abatement initiatives may not necessarily be achieved at uniform levels across respective states and territories.  Accordingly, a policy approach that seeks to produce emissions reductions in one jurisdiction without reference to broader nation-wide approaches the makes it inevitable that the abatement will come at a much higher cost.  Over time the impact of such measures will be counterproductive not least because they will weaken public support for genuine climate change mitigation measures.

Accordingly, the Minerals Council of Australia (Victorian Division) does not support the reintroduction of an emissions target or specific emission standards in state law.  If adopted, these measures will inevitably  result in Victorians and Victorian businesses being disadvantaged through increased cost pressures without an overall dividend in the form of lower national emissions.

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