Government assistance packages to roll-out with carbon tax

Innovation minister Senator Kim Carr is reminding Australian manufacturers that the government has put aside a sum of money to help companies adjust to the carbon tax, which was passed by the senate yesterday.

The funds will reportedly provide job, innovation and competitiveness support for large and small manufacturers to help them reduce their carbon emissions.

In a joint-statement released by Senator Carr, minister for small business Nick Sherry, and minister for climate change and energy efficiency Greg Combet, the government recognises that the carbon tax will pose both challenges and opportunities for industry.

Jobs and Competitiveness Program

$9.2 billion is being put towards a Jobs and Competitiveness Program designed to assist trade-exposed sectors like aluminium, steel, cement, lead and zinc, glass-making, LNG and paper manufacturing.

This Program will assist emissions intensive and trade exposed activities which release high levels of carbon pollution but have difficulty passing on costs because their prices are set in global markets.

Steel Transformation Plan

This will provide $300 million over five years to support investments which will allow the sector to transform into a more efficient and sustainable industry.

Designed to deliver extra assistance to steel-makers facing pressures from the high Australian dollar, high commodity prices and weak growth in the construction market, the Steel Transformation Plan is being considered by the senate this week.

Clean Technology Program

$1.2 billion will assist manufacturers that do not meet ‘emissions intensity, trade exposed’ assistance thresholds.

The Program has a number of parts, as follows:

  • $800 for grants supporting investments in energy-efficient equipment and low-pollution technologies, processes and products.
  • $200 million for energy efficiency improvements by food processors, metal forgers and foundries.
  • $200 million ufor business R&D spending in renewable energy, low-pollution technology and energy efficiency.

Clean Energy Future Package

The government will extend the instant asset write-off threshold from $5,000 to $6,500 per item for small businesses with turnover less than $2 million a year, from 2012-13. 

This will help improve cash flow for small business operators, helping them to grow and invest in new equipment, by providing a larger immediate income tax deduction for the cost of eligible assets. 

“The carbon pricing mechanism will not apply to small business. Small businesses will not have to count or monitor their carbon pollution or electricity use. They will not have to fill out any extra forms as part of the carbon price mechanism,” says the government.

Energy Efficiency Information Grants

A $40 million program to support small to medium businesses with practical measures to reduce their energy costs. 

A further $5 million will be provided over four years to provide clean technology advice and other non-grant business support programs to small and medium businesses.

“Around half of Australia’s two million small businesses are micro-businesses, the majority of these tradies and owner-operators running family businesses. These small business owners will benefit from the same tax cuts as householders, especially the trebling of the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200 from July next year,” said the government.

“The Government recognises the important role that small business plays in our economy and in supporting Australian jobs.”

Visit the Clean Energy Future website to find out more about the assistance options.