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Sunday, 14 September 2008 09:25

Comms Alliance clamours to be heard in climate change debate

Communications Alliance, the peak body representing Australia's telecommunications industry, is not happy that the ICT industry has not been included in the climate change/carbon reduction debate by the Australian Government.

In a submission in response to the Federal Government's Green Paper on climate change, Comms Alliance says: "We submit that the ICT industry should be more directly involved in the consultations surrounding the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and have a seat at the table to assist the Government in formulating innovative responses to the climate change challenge."

It claims that, to date, "the ICT industry has not been included in the debate so far despite offering tremendous leverage to reduce emissions right across the economy. The potential benefits are real and should be taken advantage of."

Communications Alliance CEO, Anne Hurley, said it was imperative that the ICT industry make its views known on an issue that will have such a profound impact on Australia's future prosperity. "Not only is our industry ideally placed to help in combating the effects of climate change, but we also need to ensure we have a voice in the debate about the impact of the various carbon abatement strategies on our members."

The submission claims that there is tremendous potential for the ICT industry to be one of the major facilitators in reducing emissions across the whole economy. "The ICT industry offers technologies that bypass sources of emissions by eliminating energy intensive activities altogether. The Government must work with industry to take advantage of the opportunities and harness the benefits of ICT to reduce emissions."

Communications Alliance also claims that targeted concessions and assistance to a relatively small number of emission-intensive trade-exposed businesses and strongly affected industries could pass on substantial costs to other sections of the economy. "Such additional cost burdens on the ICT industry may have the unintended consequence of restricting ICT investments that have real carbon offset benefits across the economy," it argues.

And it wants some of the Government's funding to be directed to the IT industry. "We are concerned that the focus of these initiatives has been on electricity generation and transport. We submit that the government should provide support through these mechanisms to unlock the potential benefits of development of low-emissions technologies through the ICT industry. The ICT industry offers technologies that bypass sources of emissions by eliminating energy intensive activities altogether."

It suggests that this support could include funding of capital investment in new technologies that reduce emissions (including research and development) and tax incentives to encourage innovation."

The submission was developed by the Communications Alliance Climate Change Working Group with representatives from a cross-section of the ICT industry aided by expert input from climate change researchers and consultants.

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