The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
15 June 2004
The Howard Government will ensure the Australian energy sector continues to play an active part in meeting the environmental challenges of the 21st Century.
Securing Australia's Energy Future, a comprehensive energy White Paper released today by the Prime Minister, includes a number of new actions to ensure that Australian business culture includes a strong environmental management component.
"Effective environmental management requires the involvement of industry and the policies we have put in place require business to play its part" said the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp.
The largest energy users in Australia, around 250 firms, will be required to regularly identify energy efficiency opportunities and publicly report on these opportunities and their energy intensity. Large firms are those using more than 0.5 petajoules a year, equivalent to use by 10,000 average households.
Improved energy efficiency in Australia has the potential to increase GDP by almost $1 billion each year, and is the most cost-effective source of greenhouse gas emission abatement. Without the active engagement of these largest firms, many of these benefits are unachievable.
From 1 July 2006, companies receiving more than $3 million in fuel excise credits will need to manage their greenhouse emissions as members of the Greenhouse Challenge Programme. Proponents of large energy projects will also be required to be members. These measures indicate the government's expectation that large energy users, especially those benefiting from government policy and programs, will need to demonstrate their environmental commitment.
The Howard Government has also announced a $500 million fund to support demonstration of technologies with significant potential to decrease greenhouse emissions in the longer term. This contribution will leverage at least $1 billion in private sector investment.
"Governments cannot meet the challenge of greenhouse, or address other environmental issues, on their own. We will need major investments over a long period of time. Industry must be our partner in this task," said Dr Kemp.
The Australian Government will continue to play its role effectively:
"We have put forward the most comprehensive, long-term plan to address environmental concerns in the energy sector ever seen in Australia," said Dr Kemp. "We now look forward to industry and the community making a commensurate commitment."
White Paper details are available at www.pmc.gov.au/energy_future