The government has announced its “Clean Energy Future” package to commence from July 1, 2012.

Price:

  • Carbon price of $23 a tonne starting July 1, 2012, rising by 2.5% in 2013-14 and 2014-15
  • Floating price from July 1, 2015
  • Price floor of $15 a tonne (indexed), ceiling of $20 above the expected international price (indexed).

Pollution target:

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  • 5% reduction by 2020 as default position, new target of 80% reduction by 2050
  • First 5 years’ caps announced in 2014 budget, extended every year by one year
  • Nine-member Climate Change Authority (headed by Bernie Fraser) to recommend caps and targets and advise on all aspects of the scheme
  • First report February 2014, then every two years. Government required to explain why if it does not adopt CCA targets.

Coverage:

  • Stationary energy, industrial processes, fugitive emissions, emissions from non-legacy waste
  • Agriculture not covered, light commercial and household transport not covered
  • Other transport to face reduced business fuel tax credits outside agriculture, aviation to face higher excise;
  • PC to review fuel excise arrangements regarding emissions intensity
  • International permit use not permitted until >2015; maximum of 50% of international permits can be used by an entity.

Expected economic impact:

  • 0.7% CPI rise in 2012-13
  • GDP growth reduced by >0.1% pa
  • 10% increase in electricity prices in 2012-13.

Household compensation:

  • Pension to rise by 1.7%
  • Self-funded retirees to receive increase in Senior Supplement
  • Family Tax Benefit to rise by 1.7%.

Tax cuts:

  • Two-stage increase in the tax-free threshold from $6000 to $18,200 on July 1, 2012 and $19,400 in 2015-16 – tax cut of $300pa for incomes up to $68,000
  • Matching adjustment to tax rates to increase second tier (30%) to 32.5% and then to 33%; other tier rates to remain the same; no one to face a tax increase as a result of tax changes
  • One million people no longer have to lodge tax return.

Industry compensation:

  • $9.2 billion in compensation

Emissions intensive trade exposed industries

  • Under Jobs and to receive assistance on three tiers:
  1. 94.5% of free permits for industries with average baseline of a minimum 2,000t CO2-e/$m revenue or 6,000t CO2-e/$m value added
  2. 66% of free permits for industries with average baseline of a minimum 1,000t CO2-e/$m revenue or 3,000t CO2-e/$m value added
  3. 50% for LNG industry
  • Assistance to be scaled back 1.3% pa
  • Assistance to apply for at least six years
  • Productivity Commission to review assistance in 2014-15 (or earlier if there is evidence of windfall gains) with the goal of assistance being wound back in 2018 to levels proposed by Garnaut Review if PC agrees

Steel Transformation Plan: $300 million for “innovation” in steel manufacturing (in addition to EITE assistance plus an additional allocation of free permits)

Coal Sector Jobs Package: $1.26 billion over six years to assist with emissions from gassy mines

Clean Technology Program: $1.2 billion to support low-emissions manufacturing

Energy Security Fund: to pay for closure of up to 2000MW of highly-emissions intensive generation capacity by 2020, provide $5.5 billion in free permits and cash to the sector to 2016-17, establish an Energy Security Council

Clean Energy Finance Corporation: to invest $10 billion over five years from 2013-14 in renewables and low emissions technologies (not Carbon Capture and Storage), run by an independent board

Australian Renewable Energy Agency to oversee $3.2b in renewables funding, in addition to any dividends from Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Fiscal impact:

  • Revenue: $7.7-$8.6 billion pa to 2014-15
  • Fuel tax savings: ~$600 million pa
  • Household assistance: $4.1-$4.8 billion pa
  • Industry compensation: $2.8-$3.3 billion pa
  • Total impact: Additional cost to the budget (beyond scheme revenue) of $3.96 billion over four years including this year — spending to be accommodated within goal of return to surplus and 2% real spending cap.

Comparison with the final version of the CPRS:

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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