Sunday, August 9, 2009

ETS changes would save on power bills: Opposition

ABC News Online, 10 August 2009

The Coalition and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will release economic modelling today showing household power bills would go up much less if the emissions trading scheme was changed.

The Federal Government's emissions trading scheme (ETS) is set for defeat in the Senate this week, with both the Coalition and the Greens opposing the legislation without changes.

Research by Frontier Economics shows that without changes to the ETS, household electricity charges would rise by up to $280 per year but with amendments it could be limited to between $8 and $44 a year.

The Coalition argues that a small and gradual increase will give households and businesses more time to adjust.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull says the Frontier Economics research shows why the Government should not arrogantly dismiss constructive suggestions to improve the design of the emissions trading scheme.

Splitting the bill

The Coalition and the Greens say they will vote together to split the emissions trading scheme bill from the bill for a 20 per cent renewable energy target.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, says the two need to be linked but her opponents say that is a bid to force them to vote in favour of the carbon pollution reduction scheme.

The Opposition's Environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, says the Coalition will work with the Greens to split the two bills.

He says the pressure will then be on the Government.

"Well its up to the Government whether or not they're going to hold solar, geothermal, hydro tidal wave energy... hostage," he said.

"We want to make them happen, they want to play political games."

Mr Hunt says the Government should accept the change.

"The renewable energy legislation is easily fixed, decouple it and let's have a real renewable energy future," he said.

"Its within the Parliament's hands to do this in the next fortnight, only the Government can stop renewable energy in Australia."

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