Just months after the Federal Government repealed the carbon tax, their own climate change policy has passed the Senate.
After a long debate which stretched into this morning and last minute changes to the bill, the Direct Action Plan was passed with the support of senators from the Palmer United Party and opposition from Labor and the Greens. Despite their opposition, Labor and the Greens didn’t have the votes to defeat the Direct Action Plan.
The Direct Action Plan will establish an Emissions Reduction Fund costing $2.55 billion over four years. The Fund will pay for projects that businesses, organisations and local councils will devise and participate in to reduce emissions. These projects can include but will not be limited to: cleaning up power stations, improving energy efficiency and planting a substantial amount of trees.
To gain the support it needed from the Palmer United Party, the government will not be abolishing the Climate Change Authority, instead the government will be putting them to work with exploring the Palmer United Party’s dormant emissions trading scheme. In exchange for Independent MP Nick Xenophon’s support, a negotiation for safeguards for major companies to be fined if their emissions continue to increase.
Since its inception in 2010, the Direct Action Plan has always drawn controversy due to several politicians in all parties opposing it and due to its voluntary nature–it is not mandatory for businesses, organisations and/or local councils to participate.
Limits and penalties are yet to be established, however the Plan must be in place by mid 2016, the Plan is yet to be approved by the House of Representatives.
More information on the Emissions Reductions Fund can be found here.
An overview and more information of the Direct Action Plan can be found here.