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STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS
24/03/2009
Exposure drafts of the legislation to implement the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS
Senate committee
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Exposure drafts of the legislation to implement the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
Final

CHAIR (Senator Hurley) —I declare open this fourth hearing of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics inquiry into the exposure draft of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009. On 11 March 2009, the Senate referred the exposure draft of the legislation to the Senate economics committee for enquiry. The exposure draft is based on the government’s white paper on climate change, which was released in December last year. These documents affirm the government’s commitment to a medium-term national target range of reducing emissions by between five and 15 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020, and a long-term emissions reduction target of 60 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050.

The government has released six draft bills for public comment. The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 is the main bill and covers the arrangements for the scheme. A second bill relates to the consequential amendments needed to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007. The Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority Bill 2009 will establish the authority which will administer the scheme. The remaining three bills are technical bills in case the charges for the emissions units issued are at some time considered taxation. This inquiry will focus on issues relating to these bills. A separate Senate inquiry will consider aspects of climate change policy more generally. This committee is due to report to the Senate by 14 April 2009.

These are public proceedings, although the committee may agree to a request to have evidence heard in camera or may determine that certain evidence should be heard in camera. I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they are protected by parliamentary privilege; it is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on answer, having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may of course also be made at any other time.

[9.18 am]