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Government releases draft legislation for clean energy future

29th Jul 2011

The Gillard government's draft carbon tax bills were released to the public today (July 29).

Copies of the Clean Energy Legislative Package have been made available on the government's climate change website with submissions from interested stakeholders open until Monday August 22, 2011.

Deputy prime minister Wayne Swan labelled the release as "the next step forward in this major economic and environmental reform".

Minister for climate change and energy efficiency Greg Combet says: "This legislative package will give businesses and investors certainty about the carbon price, allowing them to plan new investments including in the renewable and clean energy technologies of the future."

The release comes after weeks of public discussion over the government's push to make businesses more accountable for carbon emissions as well as to guide Australia's power sector towards renewable energy.

Four main bills make up the package, detailing the government's plans for setting up the carbon price mechanism, the creation of a new regulatory body and the formation of an advisory body.

The current plan is for a three-year fixed price on carbon to start from July 2012 with an emissions trading scheme set to be implemented from 2015.

Several other bills are included that detail procedural matters relating to a future fuel tax.

Also included is the Jobs and Competitiveness Program, which aims to provide support for industries that are high emitters of carbon and thus more exposed to the new tax.

Currently the target is to reduce greenhouse emissions to 80 per cent of 2000 levels by the year 2050.

Australia's solar industry is focusing on such sections of the drafted bills as the Clean Energy Investment Program which will deliver grants to businesses for the purpose of investing in energy efficiency technology such as solar panel systems to ease the use of traditional coal-fired power.

The Clean Technology Innovations program will all help further develop solar panel technology research and development.

Deputy prime minister Wayne Swan is currently drafting the additional bills which will address household assistance initiatives to combat climate change in the everyday Australian household.

It is anticipated that the government will provide tax cuts, increased pensions and family payments in order to help the general population to adopt clean energy generation systems such as solar power.

Further speculation is centred on the possibility of a government rebate for solar power as it makes for a great incentive for households making the switch to renewable technology.

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