In Australia, the debate that has occurred over the last decade has not been about climate change itself but just about how Government should address climate change.
The Coalition is absolutely committed to repealing the carbon tax because we believe that it is not the right way to deal with climate change. The carbon tax is an ill-conceived policy that hit Australian households and businesses with $7.6 billion in higher bills in just the first year while emissions were only estimated to reduce by 0.1 per cent. Gas prices in NSW will be as much as 9.2 per cent higher from 1 July 2014 because of the carbon tax.
Comparisons are frequently made between Australia and other nations around the world on climate change policy. It is important to be aware of the policies other countries are implementing. However, direct comparisons are generally of limited value. Australia has a large geographic area and a low population base. We do not use nuclear energy unlike many other countries. It stands to reason that Australia should form a policy that achieves results in emission reductions without damaging our economy.
The role played by world leaders is very important because these large countries, the USA, China, India and the EU, will set the direction for climate change policy settings. The policy that each sovereign nation chooses is up to them. The United States Clean Power Plan has many similarities to the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan which means both countries have chosen similar paths to achieve emissions reductions rather than an economy wide carbon tax.
The Australian Federal Government has set a target of a 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020. This has been a bipartisan target and the Coalition remains committed to the target through our Direct Action policy.
The Coalition believes that the best way to deal with climate change is to put in an incentive based scheme that will help clean up coal fired power stations through the $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund.
Dealing with climate change is not only a responsibility of Government. It is also a responsibility of the individual. Over recent years there has been a significant shift in consumer behaviour as we seek more information about the products we consumer.
Some of Australia’s most active conservationists are farmers who have recognised for many years the important productivity benefit supplied by increased carbon in soil.
It is disappointing that while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was happy to say that his party would get rid of the carbon tax, they have not offered their support in the Senate.
The Australian people clearly want an end to the carbon tax. The Labor party continue to block the repeal in the Senate.