THE government’s plans to link Australia’s emissions trading scheme to Europe have been attacked by the chairmen of two of Australia’s biggest carbon polluters.
John Hannagan, chairman of the Australian arm of the world’s largest aluminium producer, Rusal, said the move “simply doesn’t make sense” and that instead of linking the carbon scheme to Europe, any linkage should be to our major trading partners such as China and the US.
“Asia, America, they are major trading partners. If you are going to link into a system, you want partners that you trade with,” Mr Hannagan said.
“If you are going to trade and link yourself to a trading system that’s outside our major trading activity, what you are doing is adding to our cost and making us less competitive into the markets where we need to be extremely competitive.”
He added: “If we go with Europe, politicians in Europe can determine the price of carbon in Australia and we are handing over control of the competitiveness of our economy to bureaucrats and politicians in Europe.”
BlueScope Steel chairman Graham Kraehe said that the government’s move to dump the controversial $15-a-tonne floor price was a “tiny step in the right direction”.
“However it completely fails to address the major issue,” Mr Kraehe said. “For three years until July 2015, Australian businesses already struggling to compete due to a high Australian dollar, high costs and excessive regulation will also be subject to the world’s highest carbon price.”