Message from the Minister
Climate change is one of the greatest social and economic challenges of our time. It is a global problem requiring a global solution. Australia must play it's part in reaching that global solution through our actions at home and abroad.
The Government is taking responsibility for climate change by: reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions; adapting to climate change that we cannot avoid; and helping to shape a global solution.
The Rudd Labor Government has delivered $2.3 billion over the four years of this Budget to help individuals, communities and businesses meet the challenges of climate change as we work in partnership with other nations to develop cooperative, global solutions.
The Government has established the Department of Climate Change within the Prime Minister's portfolio to deliver Australia's climate change policy.
All portfolios under the Rudd Government are committed to addressing climate change.
The Government will reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050. Later in 2008, we will announce medium term targets to put Australia firmly on a path to those reductions.
The centre-piece of the emissions reduction strategy is the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme in 2010. The successful introduction of this scheme will be the most significant economic and structural reform undertaken in Australia since the trade liberalisation of the 1980s. Additional funding in this Budget of $37.3 million over four years will ensure that the scheme is designed to maximise the benefit of this reform for Australia.
Recognising that emissions trading alone will not enable Australia to achieve its reduction goals, the Government will also invest in complementary measures to encourage research and development, increase the use of low emissions technologies and address market failures, such as in the area of energy efficiency.
The Government's target of a 20 per cent share for renewable energy in Australia's electricity supply by 2020 is also a core part of our climate change policy.
In addition, the Government will provide $1.0 billion since the 2007–08 Budget to help Australians to make their homes and communities more energy efficient and to help Australian businesses to reduce their impact on the environment.
Building a clean energy future is critical to significant emissions reductions in Australia and globally, and will drive business opportunities. The Budget provides $1.7 billion to support Australia's world leading scientists and researchers in their work to improve energy efficiency and clean energy options. This includes support for early-stage commercialisation of clean energy technologies, such as clean coal and renewables.
The Government is encouraging and supporting adaptation to the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid. The Budget provides more than $138.0 million to gather data on the impact of climate change on Australia and its unique environment and to begin the challenging process of adaptation.
The Government is working actively to help shape a global solution to the problem of climate change.
Following the Government's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, this Budget provides the Department of Climate Change with the resources it needs to dramatically step up its international engagement.
Australia is also working directly with its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region. The Australian Government has invested $150.0 million to strengthen climate change adaptation efforts, focusing on countries in Australia's region where communities are at significant risk from the impacts of climate change.
The Government is moving forward on climate change. This Budget delivers new programs and funding to help Australians meet the climate challenge and make the necessary changes to secure our economic prosperity and our natural environment.
Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Minister for Climate Change and Water