Adequacy of carbon price compensation must be legislated

8 May 2013

The Australian Council of Social Service today called for legislation to ensure that an independent, transparent review of the adequacy of compensation arrangements under the carbon pricing mechanism is guaranteed.

“We welcome the news from Minister Combet that carbon price compensation already delivered through the social security and tax systems will remain in place. We are confident that the current arrangements are adequately compensating people for the modest impact of the carbon price on household costs.

However, today’s announcement of the deferral of further compensation highlights the need for a mechanism to allow independent review of the ongoing adequacy of the compensation package. We had argued for the annual review to be legislated, and to ensure that it was conducted independently, and based on verifiable evidence” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“Results from the first years of the carbon price in operation show that it is working – the carbon price has reduced emissions and this is good news for the community – especially for the poor who will be worst affected by climate change.

“It makes economic sense for aspects of the compensation package to be reviewed in light of changes to the price of carbon, but this needs to be done through an independent and accountable review process.

“At the same time, investment in renewable energy and clean technology, and assistance to business and households to become more energy efficient remains important – energy efficiency assistance to low income households is an important way of  reducing energy costs for those households and at the same time reduces emissions.

“It’s critical that the carbon package remain fair and equitable. ACOSS has long argued that people on the lowest income levels will be impacted first and worst by the effects of climate change, but these individuals also have the greatest need for support.

“It is essential that the ongoing adequacy of compensation be assured. This can only be done through legislation,” Dr Goldie said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155