Labor climate change policy proposes tax breaks for businesses to buy electric cars

| 01.04,19. 03:10 AM |

Labor climate change policy proposes tax breaks for businesses to buy electric cars

Photo: Labor argues transport emissions can be reduced while saving Australians money. (ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Businesses would be given tax breaks to buy electric cars under a Labor Party plan to curb pollution and massively increase the number of battery-powered vehicles on Australian roads.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will today unveil Labor's climate change policy — the plan it will use to reach its target of cutting emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, and ensure half of Australia's energy comes from renewable sources by 2050.

As expected, Labor is planning to expand the Turnbull Government's safeguard mechanism, forcing around 250 of Australia's biggest polluters to cap their emissions — while exempting the farming sector.

After months of speculation, Mr Shorten will also confirm Labor will not use carry-over carbon credits to help meet (and effectively reduce) its ambitious emissions reduction target.

Mr Shorten strengthened his language against the use of carry-over credits on Sunday, describing it as "a particular accounting technique that only the Australian Liberal party and the Ukraine use".

Australia is on track to exceed its 2020 Kyoto target and the Morrison Government last month confirmed plans to count the excess credits towards the 2030 Paris commitment.

Mr Shorten will use today's announcement to paint the Coalition as "a hopelessly divided party" full of "climate sceptics".

But at the same time, he will seek to counter any attack by declaring there will be "no carbon tax and no carbon pricing mechanism" under a Shorten Labor government.

Labor is promising to consult with industry on the emissions "baselines" or limits in the safeguard mechanism and allow businesses to buy international permits to help them meet their obligations.

Trade-exposed industries like steel, aluminium and cement would receive "tailored treatment" under the plan, while the transport sector would be subject to vehicle emissions standards, to be negotiated after the election.

Labor argues transport accounts for 20 per cent of Australia's emissions, which can be reduced while at the same time helping Australians save money at the petrol bowser.

The plan would dramatically increase the number of electric cars in Australia by giving businesses a tax deduction and setting a national target — that half of all new cars sold by 2030 will be electric.

Sensing the shifting sentiment towards action on climate change, the Prime Minister recently announced the Coalition would pour another $2 billion into the Climate Solutions Fund, its rebranded Emissions Reduction Fund.

Labor has labelled that policy a failure and has promised to scrap it, if it wins the election.


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