2021 Federal Budget: climate resilience a glaring omission

2021 Federal Budget: climate resilience a glaring omission

Climate resilience a glaring omission from the budget: taxpayers continue to carry the can


13th May 2021

The 2021 Federal Budget again misses a critical opportunity to build climate resilience into the Australian economy and create sustainable long-term jobs in the industries of the future. It continues to make taxpayers pay for climate mitigation, while handing responsibility to the States, corporations and other nations. More importantly, it leaves the problem for our young people to deal with.

As Deloitte Australia chief economist Chris Richardson said last year: “If you think COVID is awful, then you should be prepared to fight against an even bigger threat. COVID shows the cost of overlooking catastrophic risks. So, it’s an urgent wake-up call for us to get ahead of that other big risk – climate change.”

This Budget stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration’s spending on climate mitigation measures and the many other countries actively investing in reducing emissions towards Net Zero. This contrast will be very obvious at the G7 Summit in England next month. Whilst the Morrison Government is investing in some promising technologies of the future, it is also giving further support to fossil fuels that will bake in extra emissions for decades. The $279.9m being paid over 10 long years to major industrial emitters to reduce their emissions continues the government’s practice of requiring taxpayers to pay all the costs of climate change, as well as paying for the emission reductions that should be driven by a carbon price. A resilient economy means no longer allowing fossil fuels to pollute for free.

As long as carbon fuels are artificially cheap, they will work against all other efforts to reduce our emissions. “Our preferred carbon price – the Australian Climate Dividend (ACD) – efficiently phases out these hidden subsidies through a steadily-rising price on carbon that turns these emissions into ‘climate income’ for households to spend on low and zero carbon activities. ” said Citizens’ Climate Australia Chair, Rod Mitchell. “Support for low carbon technologies of the future is a step in the right direction. Australia risks international head-winds and inefficient outcomes without pricing carbon. A well-designed carbon price would give us a competitive edge and more flexibility to prosper, while rewarding citizens fairly, on the path to net-zero carbon-emissions” he said.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports a bipartisan and federally legislated target of Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (preferably sooner). Its analysis shows that in order to achieve this, Australia’s emissions reduction rate must quadruple, starting immediately. “We believe the ACD’s steadily rising fee that pays a dividend evenly to all households is the fairest and most efficient way to achieve Net Zero. The dividend gives citizens an active role in decarbonising the economy, while the carbon fee drives down emissions across most industries. “It’s an elegant solution to our climate and energy policy muddle that is currently making all Australians pay the costs of climate change.” Mr Mitchell said.


CONTACT: Rod Mitchell, National Chair (rod@ccl.org.au, +61427428009)

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy and education organisation, focused on advancing climate change solutions through democracy

Australian Climate Dividend is an efficient and transparent mechanism that puts a fee on the carbon content of fossil fuels and returns the net revenue evenly to households. It drives down emissions, saves lives and stimulates the economy and employment. It has been implemented in Canada and has a good chance of being legislated in the US under a Biden presidency.

Picture credit: Robert S.Donovan (cc)