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Net zero will not mean taxes or higher costs, PM pledges

Alexandra Vanags
28 October 2021 1 minute readShare
Net zero

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s road to net zero by 2050 will be “practical” and “responsible”, based around technology like solar rather than taxes or legislation that could push costs up for businesses and households.

In a statement, Mr Morrison called Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan “technology-driven”. He said it will be based on five principles: technology not taxes; expand choices not mandates; drive down the cost of a range of new technologies; keep energy prices down with affordable and reliable power; and be accountable for progress.

Mr Morrison said the government’s existing $20 billion investment in low emissions technology is expected to unlock at least $80 billion of total private and public investment, including in clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and energy storage. He also said the plan covered the “potential for continued technology advances and breakthroughs to unlock ultra-low-cost solar”.

“Australia is a world leader in renewable energy, and cheap, clean electricity is integral to lowering emissions in the electricity sector and other industries in Australia,” the Prime Minister’s statement said, adding that “our priority technologies will deliver 85 per cent of the emissions reductions necessary to achieve net zero by 2050”.

Choice not mandates

At the same time, Mr Morrison ruled out taxes or legislated mechanisms, calling them “regressive approaches” that would “impose costs on households, businesses and regions least able to afford them”.

“The plan will deliver results through technology, not taxes. It respects people’s choice, and will not force mandates on what people can do or buy,” Mr Morrison said.

“It guarantees that we keep downward pressure on energy prices and secures reliable power. It will ensure Australia continues to serve traditional markets, while taking advantage of new economic opportunities.”

Mr Morrison added that the plan can harness existing regional strengths, unlock new areas of growth, and diversify economic activity in regions, promising to invest in rural and regional Australia to ensure it succeeds.

In an interview, the Today Show's Karl Stefanovic asked Mr Morrison if his plan was "more a prayer than a policy".

"Well, no, not at all," Mr Morrison responded. 

"I mean, this is a plan, this is our plan to hit net zero emissions by 2050 and to get there. Not by taxing people and regulating people and telling them what they have to do, but supporting the choices they're making, developing the technologies that are going to change the world. Now, those who think that technology is more of a prayer than taxes and regulation, I disagree with them."

Net zero will not mean taxes or higher costs, PM pledges
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Alexandra Vanags

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