The new Federal Government has made a significant move in its quest to abolish the Carbon Price Mechanism with the release today of exposure drafts of the repeal bills for public consultation. The key elements are:

  • Industry assistance under the Jobs & Competitiveness Program, the Energy Security Fund and the Steel Transformation Plan will continue in 2013-14 for the purpose of meeting carbon tax liabilities.
  • The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will have new powers to monitor prices and take action against businesses that attempt to exploit other businesses and consumers by charging unreasonably high prices, or making false or misleading claims about the effect of the carbon tax repeal on prices.
  • The Climate Change Authority will be abolished.
  • The Clean Energy Regulator will ensure that carbon tax liabilities are met in full.
  • The Government will consult separately on the design of the Emissions Reduction Fund and the Direct Action Plan.

It is not surprising that the Government has moved quickly on this, given its prominence in its election campaign. As we said last week, however, this simple promise translates into a complex challenge, combining legal, political and commercial considerations. We will be analysing the bills in next week's Insights to see how well they meet this challenge.

Public comment is open until 5pm Monday 4 November, with the Government promising they will be introduced as the first item of legislative business for the 44th Parliament, which opens on Monday 11 November.