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Environment groups say plan not perfect

Environmental groups say the federal government’s carbon tax package is not perfect but will put the nation on course to tackling climate change.


“This package is not perfect, but it is absolutely essential Australia gets started,” Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) executive director Don Henry said in a statement.

The government on Sunday set a price on carbon of $23 a tonne, which will be paid by Australia’s 500 largest polluting companies from July 1, 2012.

The price will rise by 2.5 per cent a year for three years, ahead of the introduction of an emissions trading scheme that will then allow the market to set the carbon price.

It also sets a new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

“ACF urges all parliamentarians to support this package as the foundation on which we can build a low-carbon economy,” Mr Henry said.

The Wilderness Society approved of the government’s plan to set up a fund to protect carbon held in nature and measures that will protect native forests.

“The Australian government has finally come to its senses by ruling that turning native forests into a power source is not renewable and should not be supported,” society national campaign director Lyndon Schneiders said in a statement.

Greenpeace said while Clean Energy Future package was a good start, the initial fixed carbon price was too low.

“The fact that we have any price at all is testament to all Australians who demanded the government take action on climate

change,” chief executive Dr Linda Selvey said in a statement.

“But equally, the fact it is such a low price, with such limited coverage is testament to the power of the big polluters to dominate Australia’s political leadership.”

She said the $23 a tonne price would not give investors the certainty to invest the billions necessary to support renewable energy.


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