A NEW DAWN FOR THE NATION AS WE MAKE THE SHIFT TO CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE Sun 1 July 2012 Cassy O'Connor Minister for Climate Change The Minister for Climate Change, Cassy O'Connor, today congratulated the Australian Government on the commencement of its carbon price mechanism under the Clean Energy Future package. "Today, we begin an important and necessary reform that will underpin our transition to a low carbon future," Ms O'Connor said. "Tony Abbott is telling Australians the sky will start to crumble from 1 July, but when we looked out this morning on a new dawn, the sky was still in place. "Despite the climate denialists and scare-mongerers in the Liberal Party, a national carbon price will help to bring down our emissions and drive the transition to a low carbon economy. "Australians can hold their heads high on the international stage as citizens of a nation prepared to accept their responsibility to cut greenhouse pollution for a safer climate. "It is inescapable that we must collectively reduce our emissions to a safe level to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for our beautiful island state and for our children's children into the future. "As the Climate Commission tells us, the decade in which we must act to achieve this starts now. "From now on, we must take every opportunity to ensure that the carbon pricing scheme is implemented efficiently and effectively at the regional and local level. "Part of this will be taking hold of opportunities that arise from the Australian Government carbon package such as the multi-billion dollar support for renewable energy and energy efficiency, significant investment in community grants programs and funds to implement the Carbon Farming Initiative and to protect biodiversity with a focus on landscape restoration. "Tasmania is off to a really good start. We already have a clean, green brand, a good base of renewable energy generation and expertise; we are committed to energy market reform, indexation of energy concessions and strong investment in energy efficiency. "On top of Clean Energy Future package funding opportunities, the Tasmanian Government has invested over $8 million in energy efficiency programs for low income households and has announced further funding of $6 million over the next two years for additional programs in this area," Ms O'Connor said. "This investment and similar programs under the Clean Energy Future package have the triple benefit of reducing carbon emissions, helping low income households to manage bills, and improving comfort, health and wellbeing. "Tasmania has an opportunity to be a leader in taking advantage of this major Australian Government economic reform, to establish ourselves as a centre of excellence in remote renewable energy, and develop the significant job potential to be realised for our State. "As Minister for Climate Change, I look forward to working cooperatively with my Cabinet colleagues and key stakeholders to achieve this."