Despite widespread support for the Climate Change Bill introduced to parliament by independent MP, Zali Steggall, the federal government has continued to oppose the legislation.
The Private Members Bill was introduced by the Member for Warringah last year and provides a framework for a net zero emissions target by 2050.
It was the focus of a parliamentary inquiry this week which received more than 6500 submissions.
In its submission to the inquiry, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) described Steggall’s plan as a “science-based, risk-management” approach to climate change that was deserving of support.
BCA CEO, Jennifer Westacott, said the high-level policy framework outlined in the proposed legislation represents an important starting point for the development of a clearly defined, nationally guided and coordinated climate policy response.
She said a clearly articulated climate policy destination and a pathway to get there would lead to new job opportunities, greater economic resilience in regional Australia, a stronger competitive position internationally and sustained growth in productivity and real incomes.
However, the federal government has resisted a net zero target and is opposed to climate change legislation.
Minister for Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the bill would destroy jobs and increase energy costs.
The government’s opposition to the bill makes it unlikely it will be debated in parliament, but it has the support of more than 100 businesses and organisations including the Australian Industry Group, Unilever, the Council of Small Business Organisations and Origin Energy.
The Australian Greens support a net zero target by 2035 while Labor’s climate spokesman Chris Brown said consultation is underway to develop a pathway to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
More than 100 countries have set net zero targets including New Zealand, Hungary, Canada and the European Union.
The United Kingdom introduced legislation and committed to a net zero target by 2050 back in 2019.