THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has stated he is not prepared to delay implementation of the Government’s emissions trading scheme despite conceding a global agreement remains some way off.
In New York to advance international negotiations on cutting greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the December Copenhagen summit, Rudd said the Government still wants the scheme passed to give business certainty.
“We need to have the rules up, out, clear,” he said.
The opposition’s acting emissions trading spokesman, Ian Macfarlane, claimed it would be risky for Australia to pass an emissions trading scheme before there is a global agreement.
“We need to see what is going to come out of Copenhagen,” he said.
The opposition has agreed to negotiate on the legislation, with amendments expected to be ready before Parliament resumes in four weeks.
“I’m still confident that within a week, I’ll be able to sit down with the Department of Climate Change and have a preliminary discussion about their latest information from Copenhagen and following that, frame up a set of amendments over the following two weeks that I’ll firstly take to Shadow Cabinet and then to the party room,” Macfarlane said.
Herbert Geer partner and environmental lawyer, Robert Wilcher, said he expected a revised bill to get through, “because I don’t think the opposition wants to face the prospect of a double dissolution”.
Wilcher said amongst the business community there was angst about the new legislation and its implications.
“Many people are not prepared for it, they aren’t sure what it means, aren’t geared up to assess the impact of it on their business. It will fall on a whole range of business advisers (including lawyers) to say what happens.”