Briefing paper

It has been 10 years since Julia Gillard become Prime Minister of Australia. One of her government’s major achievements was the introduction of the Carbon Pricing Mechanism. It was in place from July 2012 until it was repealed by the Abbott Government in June 2014. This brief looks back and asks four questions:

  1. Did the carbon price reduce emissions?
  2. Would emissions be lower today if the carbon price was not repealed?
  3. Did removing the carbon price reduce electricity prices?
  4. How effective at reducing emissions have other complementary measures that were introduced or expanded by the Labor Government been?

Key findings:

  • Over the carbon price period, Australia’s emissions declined by approximately 2%, and subsequently increased for the four years after its repeal
  • Had the carbon price stayed in place, Australia’s emissions would be 25 million tonnes lower in 2020 and 72 million tonnes lower for the period 2015 to 2020
  • Australia would have experienced less volatility in wholesale electricity prices and cheaper electricity if the carbon price was still in place due to more business certainty leading to greater investment in electricity generation
  • Other Gillard Government climate and energy policy measures such as the Renewable Energy Target, and renewable funding agencies which have remained intact have put into action 334 million tonnes CO2e of emissions reductions.


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