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Australian action on climate change starts here

The Australian Conservation Foundation has heralded the release of the price on pollution package as a critical step from which Australia can now start serious action on climate change.

“Today’s package is so important because it lays the foundation for Australia to finally start seriously acting on climate change,” said ACF’s executive director Don Henry.

“This package is not perfect, but it is absolutely essential Australia gets started.

“We commend the multi-party committee for establishing a $10 billion clean energy finance corporation, as proposed by ACF, to drive large-scale investment in renewables.

“The starting price of $23 per tonne of carbon pollution from 1 July 2012, rising by 2.5 per cent every year for three years, is less than ACF called for, but we welcome the establishment of an independent Climate Change Authority to recommend targets when the emissions trading scheme commences as a way of taking some of the partisan politics out of building a clean energy economy.

“We also welcome the legislated 80 per cent emissions reduction target by 2050.

“The establishment of the $1 billion Biodiversity Fund, as advocated by ACF, is a solid move towards protecting the special places of Australia that naturally store carbon and safeguarding our biodiversity.

“While we oppose taxpayers’ money going to coal-fired electricity generators, the use of scheme revenue to accelerate the closure of up to 2000 megawatts of brown coal burning power stations by 2020 should speed up the transition to a clean energy future.

“The household assistance package helps those who can least afford cost increases and is welcome. While ACF welcomes the $1.5 billion for energy efficiency programs, it is vital we fast-track introduction of a National Energy Savings Initiative to ensure all Australians have access to technologies that cut energy costs.

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