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Business groups welcome Carbon Tax Repeal

17 July, 2014

Three of Australia's leading groups representing businesses in critical sectors of the economy have welcomed the repeal of the carbon tax as the first step in moving towards an emissions reduction policy that works for the economy and the environment.

In a joint statement released by Innes Willox, Chief Executive at Australian Industry Group, Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive at Business Council of Australia, and Brendan Pearson, Chief Executive at Minerals Council of Australia, the groups reinforced the importance of the Australian Government now developing and implementing a cost-effective Emissions Reduction Fund as part of a toolkit of measures to reduce emissions, and of the Senate working with them to achieve this in a timely manner. To date there has been significant consultation on the Emissions Reduction Fund.

It is essential that discussions about climate change policy, including new or amended legislation, be open and transparent and involve full and effective consultation with business and the community.

The economic and environmental impacts of policy and any changes to it need to be fully considered as part of a transparent and consultative process. If policy were to be developed through political negotiations without adequate consultation, the likely outcome would be unworkable, the groups said.

Climate policy should achieve its objectives at least cost, not erode the competitiveness of trade exposed industries, and support efficient long-term investment, the groups concluded.

Positive result, unfortunate process

Willox added that while amended carbon price repeal avoids burdens, a better process is required in future.

"Beyond the repeal of the carbon tax itself, industry welcomes revisions made to price pass-through provisions after strong industry feedback. These should protect a wide range of businesses from unnecessary compliance burdens," Willox asserted.

"While we have a positive outcome, the process leading up to it was unfortunately chaotic and opaque.  We strongly urge all parties to ensure that future legislative changes and amendments can be considered in detail and consulted on in full with business and others who are affected well before a vote.

"The amendments proposed last week would have inadvertently required thousands of businesses to produce carbon tax repeal substantiation statements, at considerable cost in staff time and money, under threat of heavy sanctions.  That would have hit everyone from caravan parks and shopping centres to car dealers and whitegoods suppliers.

"Ai Group raised these concerns with the Government, the Opposition and the crossbench as soon as the issues became apparent.  We have continued to work with all sides of politics to resolve these problems, and found a cooperative and constructive response.

"Based on the revised amendments, the Minister's second reading speech, and conversations with members and other stakeholders, we do not expect that the reporting and substantiation provisions passed today will apply to any businesses other than genuine electricity and gas retailers, electricity producers large enough to sell directly to the wholesale market, and bulk importers of synthetic greenhouse gases.

"We will look to the ACCC to take a reasonable and responsible stance in interpreting the new legislation and its own role in enforcing it.  Industry expects that the ACCC will focus on a small number of highly relevant businesses.

"Finally, I would like to thank the crossbenchers for their willingness to engage with us and respect and take on board the legitimate concerns of industry," Willox said. 

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john | Monday, July 21, 2014, 5:13 PM
What business group? Nobody asked me. Oh that's right, those dirty coal fired generators are the business groups in mind. What a bunch of self serving pricks