find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Few surprises in the Clean Energy bill

Few surprises in the Clean Energy bill

Last week the Government released draft legislation for its proposed carbon pricing mechanism, and the implications for business are far reaching.

Last week the Federal Government released draft legislation for its proposed carbon pricing mechanism, and the implications for business are far reaching, writes Elisa de Wit, head of climate change at Norton Rose.


The Government will introduce its Clean Energy bill in the Spring session of Parliament, with the intention of ensuring passage by the end of 2011. Assuming the legislation is passed within this timeframe, the carbon pricing mechanism is set to begin on 1 July 2012. 


Perhaps most pressing, for business and industry, is the fact that there is a very limited timeframe for submissions to be provided on the draft legislation, with a closing date of 22 August. Covered sectors, such as the electricity, resources, industrial and waste sectors, will therefore need to give urgent consideration to the detail of the bill, to determine whether any changes are required to provide greater clarity or certainty in relation to their liability.


As anticipated, the draft itself is similar to the previous CPRS Bill. Some of the main differences include a higher target of emissions reduction of 80 per cent by 2050, and no statutory target set for 2020, although the bi-partisan target of 5 per cent reduction by 2020 is currently the adopted position of all political parties. The significance of this omission is that it may be possible for the 5 per cent target to be increased prior to the 2020 deadline.


There are also minor changes concerning how liability is applied to the different sectors, and some new provisions enabling infringement notices, which are essentially fines, to be issued for non-compliance. In particular, liability is proposed to rest directly with the operator of a facility which meets the specified threshold (generally 25,000 tonnes CO2-e per year), rather than being directed up the corporate tree to the ultimate parent company.


The draft legislation confirms that agricultural emissions are excluded and will be covered by the Carbon Farming Initiative, Australia's proposed domestic offsets scheme. For agricultural industries and other land based activities, such as forestry, this will provide an opportunity to generate carbon credits, which can then be used for compliance purposes under the carbon pricing mechanism.


Overall, the package of legislation essentially reflects the content of the Government's policy announcement on 10 July, with relatively few surprises. And given the Government has the numbers to get the package through Parliament, business and industry should now start considering the range of commercial and compliance issues raised by the legislation. Where do they stand in relation to coverage under the mechanism? Will they be given free permits under the Jobs and Competiveness Program? What sort of liability will they have? For publicly listed corporations, what sort of information will need to be disclosed to the market in compliance with ASX Listing Rule 3.1? 


Another key consideration is whether or not commercial enterprises can pass direct or indirect carbon costs on to customers, under existing contractual relationships, or whether there may be restrictions on the ability to pass through such costs, due to issues such as international competition or domestic market sensitivity.


These are issues which need to be carefully explored, and the clock is now ticking.



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Few surprises in the Clean Energy bill
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Jetski
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...