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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

15 April 2005

States keep costs of emissions trading secret

The states and territories have today failed to provide details of the additional costs for householders and businesses of their proposed national Greenhouse Gas emissions trading scheme - despite being pressed to do so by the Commonwealth.

"A meeting of State and Territory Environment Ministers in Darwin today provided the forum for the states to provide the details of how this new state tax would work. The states and territories have refused," Senator Campbell said.

In discussions, the states admitted that the new scheme would increase costs but would not, or could not, say by how much.

"Discussions at the meeting revealed that the State Ministers plan to provide the costs of the carbon tax to their Premiers by the end of the year, but even then there is no promise any information will be made available to the public."

The Australian Government believes the introduction of such a carbon tax is unnecessary given Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto target and is premature in the absence of effective longer-term global action on climate change.

The Australian Government released its position on emissions trading as part of the Energy White Paper. That position is unchanged.

The Australian Government will not impose significant new economy-wide costs, such as a carbon tax, until there is a comprehensive and global response.

To advocate otherwise, as the states have done today, is to advocate higher costs for Australian homeowners and businesses and is an attack on the economic growth of this nation. What's more, there is no evidence it would be an effective response to climate change as business would move offshore to avoid such a tax, taking Australian jobs with them.

At today's meeting, the Commonwealth agreed to note the potential of emissions trading, but only when supported by complementary measures and when consistent with the national interest.

This is completely consistent with the Energy White Paper.

"If the States - which between them have proposals on the drawing board to build up to 25 new fossil fuel fed power stations - were serious about immediate practical action to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, they would match the Australian Government's $1.8b programme to invest in real greenhouse gas reduction activities." Senator Campbell said.

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia