The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) have lobbied the Federal Government for a low price on carbon emissions, both saying that a low price is required for businesses to stay competitive.
The collectives said the carbon price, due to be introduced in 2012, should start at $10/ton, which is half the suggested price put forward by Ross Garnaut, chief government adviser on climate change.
Heather Ridout, CEO of Ai Group, said a carbon price would pose “serious risks to the survival of big wealth generating and employing businesses in Australia”.
BCA, which led a conglomerate of industry groups on the issue, indicated it would prefer a gradual introduction to the carbon tax starting at $10/ton, with incremental increases every month or quarter as required “to reduce the need for compensation to households and business,” according to a BCA statement.
It also led a request to the government for compensation for the tax to stave off any negative effects to investment and trade.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet said he was pleased industry had agreed to having a price on carbon emissions. “It’s very important that the Business Council has the view that carbon price is appropriate and a market mechanism to achieve it is the best way to go.”
He added: “A carbon price is the only policy being promoted in Australia that will create an incentive for businesses and individuals to drive a low pollution future.”
The Federal Government is still in talks with businesses, unions, environmental groups and the broader community regarding the details of the carbon pricing package.