26 November 2010 – Business leaders meeting today in the first sitting of the  Business Roundtable on Climate Change said there was a need for a carbon price to support long-term investment.

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet said the meeting set the ground rules for how the Roundtable would operate and how members would  advise the government about options for putting a price on carbon.

A media statement from the two ministers said:

“Members discussed a range of issues, including the need to engage business and the broader community, the need to draw on the experiences of previous policy development, and the fact that achieving even a five per cent emissions reduction against 2000 levels will involve a significant restructuring of the economy.

“While there may be slow progress in international negotiations, the reality is that many countries are acting to reduce their emissions.  Early movers will reap the economic benefits by attracting international investment flows and improving their competitiveness in the long term.

“Australia faces some significant economic challenges in the years ahead, as we manage a surge of investment in our resource sector.  We will see ongoing debates about capacity constraints, skills shortages and infrastructure adequacy.  Investments in coming years will guide our growth in the coming decade and beyond.

“In this context, it is important that we have the policy settings in place to ensure we are investing efficiently and with a view to the long term.

“Members committed to continued discussions including meetings in February, April and June next year, followed by monthly meetings through the second half of 2011.

“The Government thanks all participants for their commitment to an open discussion on this important area of economic reform.”