Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme must work for low income and disadvantaged households

Any proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS) must ensure that the welfare of low-income and disadvantaged households is protected, according to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

The impact of the CPRS on disadvantaged households will be the focus of a one-day conference in Sydney this Friday 27 February, Carbon and Consumers, organised by PIAC’s Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program (EWCAP).

Senior Policy Officer with EWCAP, Mark Ludbrooke said, ‘ The conference is very timely in that there is a lot of debate about what form the proposed CPRS will take. Whatever it looks like PIAC will aim to ensure that low-income households are not worse off’.

‘Disadvantaged households already spend more of their disposable income on energy and water bills. This will become more of an issue as electricity prices increase under the CPRS’, Mr Ludbrooke added.

The first keynote address by Ian McAuley, from the University of Canberra and the Centre for Policy Development, who will explore how consumers are likely to respond to price increases flowing from the CPRS.

The conference will then hear from Allan Asher, former CEO of EnergyWatch (UK), about emissions trading in the European Union. The current global financial crisis has already impacted on the price of carbon permits in Europe.

The conference will also include a panel discussion, which will focus on the effects of rising electricity prices from the CPRS on specific consumer groups, and include Alison Peters (NCOSS), Maree O’Halloran (Welfare Rights Network), Jenna Wood (Country Energy), Deb Pippen (ACT Tenants Union) and Karen Oakley (NSW Consumer Advisory Group – Mental Health).

‘PIAC hopes that the conference will come up with policies and programs to ensure disadvantaged consumers are not left behind by the CPRS. PIAC will then use this information to lobby the Federal and NSW Governments to ensure social supports and compensation are part of any CPRS package’, Mr Ludbrooke said.

Carbon and Consumers will be held at the UNSW campus in the Sydney CBD, Level 6, 1 O’Connell Street starting at 9:30 am.

For conference information, contact Joel Pringle on 02 8898 65 20 or [email protected]

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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