UnitingCare Australia welcomes price on carbon
UnitingCare Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s plan to legislate for a price on carbon, with the support of the Australian Greens.
National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds, said the agreement was an essential step in encouraging industry and households to reduce carbon pollution and shift to less damaging energy sources.
“It’s absolutely appropriate to send a price signal to industry and other consumers regarding the impact of carbon pollution and global warming,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“A move to a low carbon future will require all of us to change the way we use energy.
“But the introduction of a carbon price must include a safety net and other support for low income households who must not be pushed into deeper financial hardship.
“These are the very households that make a relatively small contribution to carbon pollution and are least able to cope with increasing energy prices.
“UnitingCare services are already seeing the impact of rising energy costs on low income and vulnerable households.
“The number of people living on low wages and income support who seek help with bills through our emergency relief and financial counselling services has doubled over the past three years.
“One Canberra study last year revealed that age pensioners were paying 11 per cent of their income on energy bills and people on Newstart Allowance were paying 18 per cent of their income on energy bills.
“The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy defines households as being in fuel poverty if they need to spend more than ten per cent of their income on all household energy use — which most would agree is reasonable.
“ Australia doesn’t need to make a choice between protecting the environment and protecting low income and vulnerable Australians. We can protect both.”
Ms Hatfield Dodds said that as the Parliament worked through the detail of the legislation, UnitingCare Australia would advocate for
- adequate support for vulnerable Australians;
- appropriate compensation and assistance for community sector organisations;
- consultation with those consumers and the organisations who provide services to assist them; and
- an independent body to monitor the impact of energy prices on citizens and the community sector.
UnitingCare Australia is the Uniting Church’s national body supporting community services and advocacy for children, young people, families, Indigenous Australians, people with disabilities, people from culturally diverse backgrounds and older Australians in urban, rural and remote communities.
Its network provides care to over two million people each year through 1,300 sites.