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Monday, 30 November 2009
Page: 9499


Senator XENOPHON (4:33 PM) —I move amendment (12) on sheet 5912:

(12)  Clause 167, page 207 (after line 10), after subclause (1), insert:

       (1F)    The emissions-intensive trade-exposed assistance program must provide that within 2 months of being issued with free Australian emissions units for a year in accordance with the program, the person to whom the units are issued must prepare a business plan in relation to the activity and submit it to the Minister.

       (1G)    A business plan prepared under subsection (1F) must demonstrate:

              (a)    a commitment to reducing carbon emissions in relation to the activity; and

              (b)    that there will not be a net reduction in jobs in relation to the activity, other than as a result of investment in new technologies.

      (1H)    A person who has submitted a business plan under subsection (1F) must submit a progress report on its implementation by the end of 10 months after the day on which free Australian emissions units were issued to the person.

        (1I)    The Minister must within 30 days assess a progress report submitted under subsection (1H) in accordance with assessment criteria specified in the regulations and determine whether or not the objectives of the business plan are being met.

        (1J)    If the Minister determines under subsection (1I) that the objectives of a business plan are not being met, the Minister may determine that the person is required under section 168 to relinquish all of, or a proportion of, the free Australian emissions units issued to the person for that year.

      (1K)    If the Minister determines under subsection (1I) that the objectives of a business plan are being met only in part, the Minister may determine that the person is required under section 168 to relinquish a proportion of the free Australian emissions units issued to the person for that year.

This amendment relates to viability requirements. It provides criteria by which business plans can be used to demonstrate that businesses receiving assistance are both economically viable and environmentally responsible. Any assistance should be linked to these requirements. I believe that, if a business receives assistance, it needs to show the community that it has a plan in place to cut emissions, to protect jobs and to stay in business.

The thrust of this amendment is that businesses who receive assistance will have to produce a plan to perform against; other-wise, they will be liable to relinquish their assistance, either in full or in part. It should reassure regional communities to know that, as part of receiving assistance, entities will be req-uired to keep jobs in the community. This amendment provides a clear incentive to do the right thing. It is a case of mutuality, in a sense—you cannot receive assistance unless you can demonstrate that you have a plan to lower your emissions and also not to shed jobs by virtue of that assistance. I commend the amendment to my colleagues.