Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has brought the nation’s climate change policies back to our attention by announcing the Government’s plans to review the possibility of a new carbon tax.
Despite backlash from members of the Coalition, Mr Turnbull said on Tuesday morning that a review of the climate policy, set to take place next year, was “nothing remarkable”.
“The review of the climate policy which will be undertaken next year has been part of the Coalition’s policy for many years, long before I was Prime Minister.
“This is absolutely part of our policy; it’s part of the policy we took to the election in 2013 and 2016 and, indeed, we took to the election in 2010,” he said.
He claimed that the best way for Australia to cut carbon emissions was to implement a tax.
“Now, the fact is … we cannot cost-effectively achieve a substantial cut in emissions without putting a price on carbon. We have to put a price on carbon.
“We can do it via a carbon tax if you like; the better approach is via a cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme,” he said.
The review, conducted by the Department of the Environment and Energy, will involve examining the best way to meet Australia’s climate commitments, with a discussion paper set to be released in early 2017.
Mr Turnbull yesterday criticised former prime minister Kevin Rudd for his decision to abandon the emissions trading scheme, claiming it resulted in one of the most “self-destructive” political acts ever witnessed in the country.
However, Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, and Liberal backbencher Cory Bernardi, were opposed to a return to the carbon pricing discussion, with Mr Bernardi telling the media it would be like “ripping a scab off an old wound”.
“It might make us lauded by the Greens and the Labor Party and the rent seekers, but this is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in politics in recent times,” Senator Bernardi said.
Energy Networks Australia chief executive John Bradley said a climate policy review would be very welcomed, citing the need for “stability” after a decade of uncertainty in the electricity and gas distribution industry.
Energy Networks Australia’s research project, in association with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), found that having an emissions trading scheme in the energy sector could help ease the financial burden on Australian households, with a potential average saving of $216 per year.
What are your thoughts? Do you welcome a return to the carbon tax discussion?