Safeguard deal is well balanced, for now

“Changes to the Safeguard Mechanism reforms announced today do an effective job of addressing concerns from trade-exposed industry alongside those from the Parliamentary crossbench. It’s not a deal for the ages, but it’s a good deal for today,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of national employer association Ai Group, said today.

“Maintaining Australia’s competitiveness is crucial so that industries with a bright future in a net zero emissions world can achieve that here. Changes to the Trade Exposed Baseline Adjusted settings are helpful in that regard. Even more so is the addition of competitiveness to the objects of the Act and the clearer commitment to review the potential for an Australian Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism to address crucial industries like steel and cement.

“The treatment of new facilities appears to strike a workable balance, providing pathways for new projects that stack up to go ahead without adding to burdens on existing facilities or threatening national emissions goals.

“Strengthening transparency around offsets and their use will be helpful in adding to confidence. Government will need to be ready to respond quickly if problems emerge with particular projects or methods.

“The detailed changes to legislation and to the scheme rules will need further scrutiny. But overall, industry will view the announced deal with some relief that pragmatism and reasonable compromise have prevailed. Now business and government have to get on with the large task of implementing this reform and supporting transformative investments in industry,” Mr Willox said.

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