Helping Small Business and the Community Sector Adjust to a Carbon Price Wed 27 June 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Economic Development Cassy O'Connor Minister for Climate Change Rebecca White Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business Download hi-res version The Minister for Economic Development, David O'Byrne, the Minister for Climate Change, Cassy O'Connor, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, Rebecca White, today launched an event to help Tasmanian businesses and the community sector prepare for the introduction of carbon pricing. About 50 small business operators and community sector representatives attended today's Carbon Price Forum in Hobart. Mr O'Byrne said the forum provided detailed information on the Clean Energy Futures Package, ways to help reduce business and household costs, and the assistance available. "Putting a price on carbon is an important step towards modernising our Australian economy, and protecting our environmental future," Mr O'Byrne said. "But like any significant reform, our communities and businesses need direct and practical information about how it affects them, the assistance available, and the opportunities it creates. "Through this forum and other services, the Tasmanian Government is stepping up to give small business the practical support it needs to transition securely and efficiently towards the low-carbon economy. "While the small business and community sectors won't have any direct liability under the carbon price, it will bring both costs and benefits for business. "While it'll become more important than ever to manage energy usage and costs, carbon pricing also creates opportunities in areas like low-carbon production, renewable energy, and low-emissions technology," he said. At the forum, Mr O'Byrne outlined key Tasmanian Government initiatives to help businesses reduce costs and improve their environmental performance. That includes the Business and Environmental Sustainability Program, Energy Ready workshops, and "lean manufacturing" events. The Minister for Climate Change, Cassy O'Connor said today's forum was an opportunity for small businesses and community organisations to hear more about the assistance on offer, and the experiences of businesses who are already working to reduce their carbon emissions. "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. All of these things will provide support for Tasmanians on low and fixed incomes. "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 over the next two years for additional programs in this area. "Through these programs, we are seeing families save money on their power bills and improve the health and warmth of their homes. "$6 million over the next two years on further energy efficiency programs will build on this and help deliver further savings to Tasmanians," Ms O'Connor said. "This investment and similar programs under the Clean Energy Future package and the triple benefit of reducing carbon emissions, helping low income households to manage bills, and improving comfort, health and wellbeing." The Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, Rebecca White, said there had been an encouraging response to Government initiatives aimed at helping small businesses cut their power costs. "Today's forum builds on last week's Energy Ready workshops in Hobart and Launceston, and show we're serious about supporting small business through programs that help them identify the sources of their energy costs, and ways to reduce their energy use into the future," she said. The Carbon Price Forum is a key initiative of the Government's Economic Development Plan and Tasmania's Action Plan to Reduce Emissions. The forum was organised by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts and the Tasmanian Climate Change Office, and follows on from the Industry Carbon Price Roundtable held in Hobart last year.