Senate debates

Monday, 2 May 2016

Questions without Notice

Carbon Pricing

2:50 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Education and Training) Share this | Hansard source

In addition to acknowledging the 'fighters for freedom' up in the gallery today, I also acknowledge and thank Senator Smith for his question on what I understand is his fourth anniversary as a senator. I congratulate Senator Smith on his significant contribution over those four years.

In terms of significant contributions, the Australian government is making a significant contribution to address, meet, deliver and exceed our targets and commitments to the world in relation to climate change. And we are doing this, of course, without a carbon tax being required.

As was announced at the signing of the Paris climate agreement in New York last week, Australia is on track to meet and beat our 2020 targets for emissions reduction by some 78 million tonnes of emissions. We are doing that through three key pillars: the Renewable Energy Target, the Emissions Reduction Fund and the safeguard mechanism. But we are doing that, of course, without the need for a carbon tax in place.

Our policies are working; they are succeeding, and they are doing so without those impacts that drove electricity prices and gas prices up. By some estimates, in New South Wales gas prices are eight per cent lower today than they would have been with the carbon tax, electricity prices are 10 per cent lower and, of course, the Australian Treasury estimates that households have saved around $550 as a result of the removal of the carbon tax. Yet Australia is meeting and beating its emissions reduction targets and is playing an effective part in developing policies to further reduce emissions, in Australia's case with commitments to reduction of between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This represents a halving of emissions per person—the second-highest contribution of that nature among all developed countries. This is a significant contribution and commitment by Australia that is, of course, backed up by our real action over the years in delivering on our commitments. (Time expired)

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