08 July, 2011

Sustainable Business Weekly [Red/Green Tape, Carbon Tax, Texas]

Red Tape/Green Tape

According to the Qld State Opposition, the new Work, Health and Safety Bill which passed Parliament in the Mackay Regional Sitting, has caused some concern in business circles, particularly the building industry.

Fiona Simpson raised this after a briefing from the Master Builders about the impact of more than 500 new regulations for a range of industries, but particularly the construction industry.

Somewhat ironically, the QLD Government’s stated objective of the bill is to cut red tape and harmonise WH&S legislation across State jurisdictions.

Apparently, the QLD State Opposition supports sensible harmonisation but has brought into question the cost-benefit of 500 pages of new regulations from January 2012. Fiona sees the recent changes as an impost for the majority of Queensland businesses.

The State Opposition supports safe workplaces but believe (rightly or wrongly) that the latest legislative changes are more about red tape than safety. Local UDIA estimates 14,000 jobs have disappeared in construction in the last 12-18 months.

In the last 12 months, red tape in Queensland increased by 13%. This was despite the efforts of the Treasury's Office of Regulatory Reform and Efficiency to reduce Red (& Green) Tape.

For more information and for ongoing timeframes, visit Safe Work Australia

Carbon Tax/Price on Pollution

This weekend the Federal Government plans to announce a price on pollution as the central element of a policy which aims to tackle climate change, cut pollution and drive the transformation of the Australian economy to a clean energy future.

After hearing a report on the discussions of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC), the Australian Federal Government’s Cabinet agreed that sufficient progress had been made to allow an announcement date to be set for Sunday 10 July 2011.

The Federal Government believes considerable common ground has been achieved in the MPCCC talks in recent weeks, which means in effect that the Carbon Tax legislation should progress through both the House of Representatives and the Senate without (or in spite of) any input from the Federal Opposition.

This reflects the intention of members of the MPCCC to commence addressing the causes of climate change.

While there were additional discussions with the MPCCC this week, followed by further Cabinet consideration, it is expected that the remaining details will be finalised in these discussions ahead of Sunday’s announcement.

The Australian Federal Government’s stated priorities in designing the carbon price have been cutting pollution, protecting household budgets and supporting jobs. In effect the objects are closer aligned to collecting revenue, appeasing vested interests and not losing votes.

A carbon price is an important reform. The intention is to create incentives to lower Australia’s carbon pollution at the lowest cost to the economy, yet we have already seen a cave in on placing any price increases on petrol (aka gasoline) for domestic consumers.

ASBG are unsure how the Federal Government intends to encourage motorists to use public transport, Electric vehicles (EVs) and or biofuels, if they are going to place exemptions on gasoline.

The Federal Government estimated that putting a price tag on the pollution, would actually only effect fewer than 500 businesses (instead of >1000 when gasoline was included in the price).
Allegedly, more than half the revenue raised by the carbon tax, will be used for tax cuts and increased payments to households. The intent is for tax cuts to keep pace with cost impacts from the carbon price in the future.

After announcing the policy this weekend, the Federal Government intends to introduce legislation to Parliament later this year. This will be an opportunity for Malcolm Turnbull to decide whether he accepts the scientific advice that climate change is real and whether he accepts the Government’s model for a market mechanism as the cheapest and most effective way of reducing pollution.

In the mean time, almost 85 companies including AGL, Alstom, Arup, Better Place, BP, Fujitsu, GE, IKEA, Linfox, Pacific Hydro & the Body Shop have signed on to a joint statement backing a price on carbon. They have united behind the statement to encourage all members of Parliament to take positive action and assist Australia's transition to a low-carbon economy.

Everything is bigger in Texas

Houston, Texas is considered the oil and gas capital of the world. By 2020, Australia could be the largest producer of LNG in the world, overtaking Qatar.

QLD Premier Anna Bligh has signed an agreement with Texas Governor Rick Perry, to cement the ties between the two states of emergency. The Premier aspires to turning QLD into the LNG capital of the Asia Pacific.

The Agreement is an attempt to recognise the importance of developing and expanding ties of cooperation between QLD and Texas focusing on primarily on sunset industries and fossil fuels. It commits both States to enhancing their business networks, alliances and collaborative projects between the respective Governments, industry organisations, educational and research institutes.

1 comment:

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