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ACOSS calls for boldness in response to climate change

27 June 2011

Australia's peak community welfare body, ACOSS, has called on the Government, the Greens and independent members and Senators to act boldly in response to climate change. ACOSS has also called on Coalition members and Senators to act in the national interest and to support the introduction of a price on carbon pollution, along with other measures.

"Climate change will affect all us all, but people who live in vulnerable situations and on low incomes will be affected first and worst," said Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, Acting CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.

"It is vital that effective and equitable action is taken to reduce carbon pollution and ACOSS welcomes efforts by people from all walks of life to help us get the change we need. We need to build community understanding about the problem and consensus about the solutions. We need to understand the genuine threats posed by climate change and the opportunities for enterprise and jobs that will arise.

"The reality is that families are being impacted by many cost of living pressures. Whilst a price on carbon pollution will have impacts on costs of living, they will be modest and anticipated and the Government has committed to ensuring low income households will be assisted to meet them.

"ACOSS is working to ensure that low income households are given financial assistance to meet cost of living increases caused by a carbon price and that it is sufficient and properly indexed.

"As part of the Southern Cross Climate Coalition, ACOSS has been working with organisations including the ACTU, Australian Conservation Foundation, and The Climate Institute, to develop a comprehensive policy platform designed to lay the necessary foundations for Australia's transition to a low-carbon pollution economy.

"The platform emphasises the need for a price on pollution as soon as possible, supported by a range of complementary measures to develop clean industries and support households, workers and communities. A price on carbon pollution will support the development of new technologies, investment in emerging industries, skills development and household energy efficiency.

"We need to make some changes in order to avoid the impacts of climate change. A carbon price is one of the actions that will begin the process of transition. The impacts of a carbon price, as modelled by Treasury, will be manageable and households with low incomes will be buffered from these impacts. If we do not begin to make these transitions now, they will only become more expensive. If we just don't make transition at all, climate change will be unimaginably expensive and hit hardest those who can least manage to cope," said Dr Boyd-Caine.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas, ACOSS - 0419 626 155

ACOSS Position papers:
ACOSS Carbon Price and Low Income Household Position Paper (ACOSS position paper)
A Policy Platform for a Low Pollution Economy (joint paper as part of the Southern Cross Climate Coalition)
Energy efficiency and affordability for Australian households (joint paper May 2011)

Media releases:
ACOSS welcomes Garnaut review but wants household assistance to be fair and equitable - 31 May, 2011
ACOSS supports carbon pollution campaign - 30 May 2011
Necessary foundations for Australia's transition to a low-carbon economy - 6 May 2011
Household compensation: direct cash assistance based on essential expenditure not income - 18 April 2011
ACOSS welcomes assurances on carbon price compensation - 13 April 2011
Community sector urges politicians to unite to find the right solution to reducing carbon pollution - 25 February 2011
ACOSS welcomes first steps towards price on carbon pollution - 24 February 2011