Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet today announced a program worth $9.2 billion over its first three years to support jobs and competitiveness in industries affected by the introduction of a carbon price.
The Gillard Government recognises that the transformation of the economy to a clean energy future presents opportunities for industry, but also challenges. Dynamic and competitive industries are essential for Australia's economy and for jobs.
The Government's Jobs and Competitiveness Program will support jobs in high-polluting industries with competitors in countries where those industries are not yet subject to comparable carbon constraints.
Over the first three years of the carbon price, the Government will devote $9.2 billion of the carbon price revenue to assistance for affected jobs in these industries.
This assistance will be in the form of free carbon permits.
This will shield these business activities from the impact of a carbon price while maintaining incentives to invest in cleaner technologies, which will underpin their competitiveness as the world moves to price carbon pollution.
There will be two categories of assistance under the Jobs and Competitiveness Program.
- The most emissions-intensive, trade-exposed activities will initially be eligible for free permits representing 94.5 per cent of industry average carbon costs. This will apply to manufacturing activities like aluminium smelting, steel manufacturing, flat glass making, zinc smelting and most pulp and paper manufacturing activities.
- Activities which have lower levels of carbon pollution, such as some plastics and chemical manufacturing, tissue paper manufacturing and ethanol production will be eligible for free permits to cover 66 per cent of the industry average carbon costs.
- Liquefied Natural Gas projects will also receive a supplementary allocation to ensure an effective assistance rate of 50 per cent.
The Jobs and Competitiveness Program will provide support to activities that generate over 80 per cent of emissions within the manufacturing sector.
As the world moves towards a low-carbon future, improving energy efficiency and cleaning up production will help Australian businesses gain a competitive advantage.
This package provides certainty to businesses, their employees and investors.
Further information about the Government's clean energy future and carbon price announcement is available at www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au.