ETS delay not a bad thing, says ALGA

By Rob O’Brien

A delayed Emissions Trading System (ETS) will give the Federal Government more time to iron out some of the technical problems with the policy, according to the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced this morning that the Government’s ETS would be delayed until 2011.

The government had planned to introduce the scheme in July 2010 despite opposition from business, green groups and the coalition.

The Government has also increased the range of its emissions reduction target from 5 to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020, depending on international action.

ALGA president Cr Geoff Lake said the delay would provide more opportunity to address issues affecting households, such as waste.

“We’re keen to see a CPRS [Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme] established as soon as possible,” Cr Lake told GovernmentNews.

”The most critical area from a local government point of view is the treatment of waste, and we had some significant issues with how waste was going to be treated in the scheme, as had been proposed.” 

ALGA had urged the Rudd Government to make changes to the treatment of waste under the proposed CPRS arguing that Australian households would be hit by increased waste disposal costs regardless of whether their council owned or operated a landfill site.

Other concerns to local government included the measurement of emissions arising from waste; the inclusion in the scheme of past waste, or ‘legacy waste’, that is emissions generated from waste deposited prior to 1 July 2008; and the proposed reduction in the size of waste facilities which are captured in the scheme.

“We probably can see some sense in delaying the implementation of the scheme until such time as how the mechanics of the scheme will work are ironed out and there’s been plenty of time to work with industry and the community to ensure that the requirements and provisions the scheme will bring into place are not too onerous on households,” Cr Lake said.

“In broad terms we’re supportive of the CPRS and we do want to see it implemented sooner rather than later, but we can understand that there may well be some merit and positive advantage in making sure that all of the technical detail is worked through first.”

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