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Aussies likely to exclude agriculture in their ETS

20 October 2009

Aussies likely to exclude agriculture in their ETS

The compatibility of New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with Australia’s has been dealt a huge blow. The Australian Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, has received his coalition’s blessing to negotiate agriculture out of the Australian ETS.

“New Zealand’s headlong rush into an ETS was always the tail attempting to wag the Australian dog,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.

“With recent political developments in Australia, the New Zealand ETS without amendment, looks like a dog with fleas.

“While the balance of power in the Australian Senate rests on a knife edge, the Coalition’s new proposals seem to have the backing of Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon. That gives the Opposition potentially 39 Senate votes to the Labor/Green Party’s combined 37.

“Since the Australian Senate votes supply or money, it has an almost unmatched ability to block legislation.

“This means any Australian Government to Opposition negotiation on the ETS will be genuine. It is now probable agriculture will be totally excluded from the Australian ETS as its right at the top of the Opposition’s wish list.

“Until there’s absolute clarity from Australia, the New Zealand Government needs to strip out all timelines for entry into our ETS. Federated Farmers also hopes our Opposition will take time to reflect on why it wants to push so hard as well.

“The Australian ETS will now morph and it seems irresponsible to plug ahead regardless. New Zealand maybe legislating blind and legislating away our competitiveness.

“The Australian Government has given itself a six-week timetable to pass the ETS, which, based on past experience, may be more than optimistic. On Thursday its draft ETS will be tabled in the lower house of the Australian Parliament.

“It’s likely to pass by mid-November but then needs to go to the Senate with a target date of November 23. That’s where things could unbundle quickly and if it does, it could lead to a general election for both the Australian lower house and Senate.

“The Australian opposition have said ‘no way cobber!’ to agriculture in its ETS and Kevin Rudd’s Labor Government is apparently listening. This begs the question if our Government will do likewise?

ENDS

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