ACOSS urges Government not to abandon emissions reductions

20 August 2018

Monday August 20, 2018: ACOSS calls on the Government to ignore climate sceptics and work with Labor and the States to implement polices to rapidly reduce emissions in the electricity sector and improve electricity affordability.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “The idea that we need to choose between reducing carbon emissions to limit global warming and cheaper energy prices is not only misleading and short-sighted, it does us all a huge disservice – especially people on low incomes or experiencing disadvantage.

“Let’s be clear, the majority of price increases over the past decade are a result of overinvestment in poles and wires, retailer costs, high gas prices, and policy uncertainty in the wholesale market.

“People on low and modest incomes already pay disproportionately more of their income on electricity, while farmers affected by drought and small businesses in local communities are already doing it tough. ACOSS has persistently called for a range of measures to reduce energy bills for people who are most disadvantaged.

“The ACCC has recommended a raft of polices that can bring down prices across the energy market, the majority of which we support. We should get on with implementing them and other measures such as increasing inadequate social security for people without enough paid work, and mandating energy efficiency standards in rental properties for both household and small business tenants.

“We should also get on with cutting carbon emissions. Failure to tackle climate change will also come at a cost, especially for people on low income who are least able to cope, adapt and recover.

“Climate change is more than just an environmental issue, it is ultimately about people. Community organisations witness daily the devastating effects of heatwaves, floods and other extreme weather events on individuals and communities. In the long term we can’t survive if we have a collapse of the environment system that sustains us. In the short to medium term it’s costing lives and livelihoods.

“Delay or failure to act to reduce carbon emissions will worsen climate change impacts, and make it more expensive to transition to a clean economy. This will drive greater inequality for current and future generations.

“People on low incomes want affordable energy and to limit dangerous climate change. We can and must do both.”