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Pressure to delay emissions trading scheme

The Australian Industry Group has called for the Federal Government to delay the commencement of the 2010 carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) due to the current economic crisis. Supporters of the scheme, the group suggested the government pass legislation to ensure implementation, but has recommended the government postpone the scheme until 2012.

“Businesses are strapped for cash and with tightening credit markets, it is very difficult to see how extra liabilities and costs can be accommodated,” notes Heather Ridout, CEO of the Australian Industry Group. Even with the delay of two years, Kyoto targets will still be “attainable and realistic”.

The Opposition and the Minerals Council have weighed with claims that an ETS would compound the current downturn and cost thousands of jobs. Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb said the scheme should not begin until Australia was “in a position of economic strength”.

A report by the CSIRO and the Allen Consulting Group supports Climate Change Minister Penny Wong’s claim that the ETS will create thousands of jobs, but flags a need for millions to retrain to accommodate large shifts in the industries and locations where jobs will grow.

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