The newly formed Climate Change Authority should maintain the competitiveness of trade-exposed industries as a priority, according to the Australian Industry Group.
The Authority and its board will play a crucial role in advising on Australia’s climate and energy policies.
AiGroup Chief Executive Innes Willox said the Authority should weigh carefully the impacts of the policies they will consider on the future of large-employing sectors such as manufacturing.
“It is crucial that the Authority gives industry a full opportunity to provide insight from the front lines of our economy, said Mr Willox.
"The Authority’s immediate task is to review the Renewable Energy Target, which has already gone through multiple significant changes over the past four years, he said.
“The costs of the RET have been higher than expected to date, largely because of a boom in small scale solar installations driven by generous multipliers under the RET itself, poorly coordinated State feed-in tariffs, and the plunging price of solar panels.
"The Authority will need to contain costs and ensure that this policy is genuinely complementary to the carbon tax, while respecting the significant investments that have already been made in renewable generation.”
Mr Willox said the Authority would also make recommendations on the greenhouse gas emissions caps that will apply from 2015, and on future changes to the carbon-pricing scheme.
"As Ai Group has long said, the current design of the carbon price involves fixed prices and floor prices that are too high and significantly above other major carbon pricing schemes around the world, said Mr Willox.
“Fuller access to international abatement could cut costs dramatically, reduce competitive distortions and still achieve the targeted emissions reductions. These benefits should be clear to the Authority.
"Furthermore, with hundreds of climate and energy policies in place at all levels of government, it is important to have an expert body that can consider the whole tangle of often-conflicting or duplicative measures and recommend an efficient, coherent approach."