THE Government and Turnbull’s CPRS legislation was tabled today.
As the various powers that be waited for the proposed legislation to be tabled, lawyers had already seen an influx of work on what recent legislative amendments would mean for clients’ businesses.
Deacons partner Elisa de Wit, who heads the firm’s national climate change practice, told The New Lawyer that while the devil is in the detail of the changes, her group has been taking calls on the change in relation to the offsets.
She said the recent amendments have seen a turn around from the Government. The primary policy position of the Government in the white paper was essentially that it was not going to pursue offsets at this stage, “we’ll make a position once we know whether agriculture is in or out”, said de Wit.
“What they have done with the amendments is quite a turn around. It’s partially linked to to them deciding to exclude agriculture altogether. But they have obviously made a decision that there is a role for domestic offets under the scheme. And they have indicated that agriculture and some aspects of waste emissions, will be able to create offsets. So that’s quite an important step,” de Wit said.
De Wit said the waste sector has been pleased about the potential for part of the sector to be able to create offsets. “There may be an abiity to reduce their liability via the creation of offsets. I am already being called about giving advice on how that will work.”
Lawyers are also seeing work around carbon cost clauses. De Wit said the advice is coming after extensive lobbying made before the White Paper that there needed to be a mechanism for companies to pass on their carbon cost.
“So what the government said in the white paper is that they would give further thought about whether there should be anything in the legislation about that. In the latest amendments they said they are now possibly looking to legislate to enable pass-through of costs for existing contracts,” she said.
The Business Council of Australia today welcomed the introduction of a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in Australia, saying it was of fundamental importance and long-term consequences that it requires bipartisan support.
BCA president Graham Bradley said he welcomed the agreement between the government and the Opposition on the amendments.
“The legislation will enable [businesses] to plan for and make the required decisions about investments to transition Australia to a low-emissions economy.”
Bradley said the BCA would work constructively with the government and Opposition on the details of the legislation and the regulations in pursuit of its objective to give Australia a scheme that preserves international competitiveness and does not unnecessarily cost Australian jobs.