“Australian business is leading – it’s time that the Australian government caught up,” he told reporters in Canberra. o

“That’s why our plan to create jobs, cut power bills, boost renewables and reduce emissions is the right plan for Australia.” 

Labor’s target will be underpinned by a suite of policy measures, including a promise to invest $20 billion towards upgrading the electricity grid as well as removing taxes from electric vehicles. 

This $251 million investment would involve exempting vehicles below the luxury car tax threshold from fringe benefits tax, while ditching plans for mandatory fuel standards to drive down emissions.

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It would also require the public service sector to reach net zero emissions by 2030, with exemptions for the Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and security agencies. 

Labor would also adopt the Business Council of Australia’s recommendation for facilities already covered by the government’s Safeguard Mechanism that require their emissions be reduced “gradually and predictably over time.”

The policy applies to heavy-emitters across a range of sectors, including mining, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, transport and waste.

It would also allocate up to $3 billion to invest in clean energy technologies like green metals such as steel, alumina and aluminium, hydrogen as well as agricultural methane reduction. 

Other measures would see 85 solar banks installed around the country as well as 400 so-called “community batteries” to improve uptake of solar energy. 

Labor said the plan would create 604,000 jobs, with five out of six new jobs to be created in the regions, according to modelling conducted by research company Reputex.

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Mr Albanese said it focused on helping Australia seize its “abundant renewable energy resources” to the benefit of jobs and business. 

“This plan will ensure that no business and no worker is left behind,” he said.

“It ensures that Australia can take our place, which we should, as a renewable energy superpower for the world.”

At the last election in 2019, Labor had committed to slashing emissions by 45 per cent in its loss against the Coalition.

Mr Albanese had been under pressure from some sections of his party to ensure its climate policy platform didn’t alienate voters in key industries. 

Target sets up election contest on climate policy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to the opposition’s target before its policy had been released, describing it as the wrong approach for Australia. 

“I don’t think that policy does get the balance right,” he told reporters. 

“A 43 per cent target isn’t safe for the Hunter. It’s not safe for Gladstone. It’s not safe for jobs for our manufacturers – it’s not safe for jobs.”

Labor has claimed its proposal will cut power prices by $275 a year per household by 2025, boost private investment and cost the government $683 million.

Climate costings became a major stumbling block for Labor during the last election with Mr Albanese quick to point to its modelling when questioned about its forecasts.

“I don’t think I know. I know because we have done the modelling,” he said.

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Both major parties have a net zero emissions target for 2050, but the release of Labor’s 2030 target sets up an election contest between the parties on climate.

Labor has been vocal in its criticism of the Morrison government’s approach to climate change policy. 

Mr Albanese on Friday described its response as “frozen in time while the world warms around it.”

Mr Morrison has in turn claimed Labor’s policy showed it had learnt “nothing” since the last election, describing it as “dangerous”.

“Getting to net zero by 2050 means you invest in the technologies that get you there by 2050,” he said. 

“Our balanced target, I think does get that right.” 

The Business Council of Australia has described Labor’s proposal as a “sensible” and “workable” plan.

But Greens Leader Adam Bandt – whose party has called for a 75 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 – said Labor’s response did not go far enough. 

“These are not science-based targets – these take us past the point of no return,” he told reporters. 

The Climate Council has recommended Australia adopts the same 75 per cent target. 

International pressure for climate action

Global pressure has intensified on nations to increase the ambition of their 2030 emissions targets as part of calls for greater efforts to combat climate change.

It was a central plea at last month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Australia signed an international request for countries at the conclusion of the summit to strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction goals by next year. 

But Mr Morrison has remained committed to the current target set by former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015.

He’s described the pledge as a “commitment” made to “the Australian people”. 

The Morrison government has also predicted Australia is on track to achieve emissions cuts of 30-35 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.  

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In comparison, the United States has adopted a 50-52 per cent emissions reduction goal by 2030 on 2005 levels.

Britain has announced it will reduce emissions by at least 68 per cent compared to 1990 levels by the end of the decade.

Canada has pledged to cut its emissions by 40‑45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.