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Australia: PM to Put Price on Carbon Next Year
Source: radioaustralianews.net.au
Source Date: Monday, November 29, 2010
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: Australia
Created: Dec 28, 2010

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Australia must set a price on carbon next year, declaring 2011 a year of delivery and decision for her government. At a speech in Sydney to the Council for the Economic Development of Australia this morning, Ms Gillard said the Government must find a way to get legislation for a price on carbon through the Parliament next year. And she promised that 2011 will see the ruling Labor coalition implement health reform, roll out more of the National Broadband Network, and increase job opportunities. Parliament's multi-party climate change committee will spend next year investigating the best way to put a price on carbon, with climate change adviser Ross Garnaut due to release his updated report in May.

"The Climate Change Commission will carry out its task of bringing together expert opinion and public attitudes," Ms Gillard said. "I promise you, no responsible decision maker will be able to say next year that they need more time or more information on climate change. "In 2011 there will be nowhere to hide." Earlier this year then-prime minister Kevin Rudd shelved the Government's emissions trading scheme after it was blocked in the Senate three times. Following that decision he suffered a substantial slump in popularity and was eventually replaced by Ms Gillard. Since she came to power, Ms Gillard has been heavily criticised by the opposition for leading a government that has achieved nothing.

Ms Gillard has rejected the accusation but says she wants 2011 to be defined less by politics and more by government. "Australians do not face a federal election next year - or the year after. Australians do not want their government to campaign. Australians want their government to govern," she said. "We are, and we will." The opposition coalition is opposed to putting a price on carbon.

Australian delegation due to arrive in Cancun
Ms Gillard's comments come as the Australian delegation is set to arrive in the Mexican resort town of Cancun for the latest round of United Nations climate talks. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says while Australia is still seeking a legally binding outcome to reduce emissions, a final agreement is not expected from the talks, which will run until December 10. He says during the two weeks of discussions, the Australian delegation will focus on issues like emissions reporting, climate financing, adaptation and deforestation. Australia wants to take forward the accord struck at the Copenhagen talks at the end of last year, which were widely seen as disappointing.

Mr Combet says since then more than 80 countries have pledged to cut and limit their carbon emissions. For example, Norway promised $US1 billion to Indonesia to stop emissions from cutting down rainforests, while South Korea and China are considering introducing their own emissions trading schemes. Climate Group chief executive Mark Kenber says there is no chance of a legally binding agreement in Cancun. "That was the big hope in Copenhagen last year and it was clear there really wasn't the concerted political will to reach a legal treaty then, and I think the same is the case now, perhaps even less so," he said.
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