Abbott’s alternative CPRS – will it benefit the manufacturing industry?

The Coalition’s proposed carbon reduction scheme, which would provide businesses with incentives to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, has had a mixed reception from the manufacturing industry.

The Coalition’s proposed carbon reduction scheme, which would provide businesses with incentives to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, has had a mixed reception from the manufacturing industry.

While specific industries including the food and grocery and heavy transport industries have welcomed the Opposition’s alternative to Kevin Rudd’s beleaguered Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the Australian Industry Group says there are a number of questions that need to be answered before it can support the scheme.

“At first blush, it appears attractive for business with the suggestion that it would impose nominal cost on industry while providing incentives for investment in abatement measures,” said Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Heather Ridout.

“However, the Coalition strategy raises a number of questions, some of which will undoubtedly be answered by further study and analysis of the policy.”

How penalties would apply for emissions beyond current levels, how the policy would fit in with multiple existing emissions reduction schemes, including state level plans, the policy’s level of international recognition and the level of regulatory burden placed on businesses are all issues the Ai Group wants addressed.

Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) Chief Executive Kate Carnell said while there is still some detail to come, the food and grocery industry supported the positive approach to reducing emissions.

“What we have been saying from the beginning is that it is vital that any approach to climate change does not hurt the competitiveness of Australian businesses and industry,” said Carnell.

“In the aftermath of Copenhagen, it is clear that a tax on business will result in jobs, investment and emissions being sent offshore to China, India and Indonesia.

“Any scheme that adds new costs to Australian manufactured good and does not affect imports from countries like China and Indonesia will simply raise prices for families and increase unemployment in rural and regional Australia — jobs which are already scarce.”

Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association Trevor Martin says the Coalition’s proposed Emissions Reduction Fund could help trucking operators buy new, fuel-efficient vehicles which would substantially decrease the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“The fund could also give more companies the opportunity to switch to alternative fuels, such as LNG. Kenworth’s LNG series of prime movers can deliver a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 20 per cent compared to conventional diesel engines, without sacrificing power or torque output,” said Martin.