Business Council of Australia

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Melbourne, Australia

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) appears to have continued to lobby against meaningful and Paris-aligned climate policy in Australia since 2015. While the BCA supports Australia’s 2030 GHG emission target of 26-28%, it does not support any increase on this. In 2018, when Australia’s Federal Labour Party proposed this target be raised to 45%, the BCA labelled the idea “economy-wrecking”. Furthermore, in 2019, BCA advocated in favour of the use of Kyoto carryover credits to reach Australia’s of 26-28% target, in effect reducing the amount of emissions reductions required even further. In 2020, BCA has nominally shifted position, endorsing a net-zero federal emission target by 2050, which is has supported in its submission to the Technology Investment Roadmap and in its submission to the COVID-19 Recovery budget. The group argues that this should be reached without carryover credits if possible but has not fully ruled out supporting their use in the future. In January 2021, BCA stated for Zali Steggall's independent Climate Change Bill, which legislates for net zero target.

BCA has, however, opposed state-level emissions reduction targets and schemes in Australia. Most recently, for example, in March 2019, BCA lobbied the Western Australian Government to reject the GHG emissions guidelines to be used in future development assessments released by Western Australia’s Environment Protection Authority, which were developed because of what the agency felt to be a lack of action and leadership from the federal government on emissions reductions. BCA opposed the Australian carbon tax, supporting its repeal in 2014, which it was reportedly instrumental in achieving. The organisation has, however, stated support for a carbon price in its 2020 submission to the Technology Investment Roadmap, but specifying in 2019 that this is on condition that it avoids a fixed pricing mechanism and begins at a price well below the original 2014 Carbon Tax.

With regards to the Australian energy mix, despite stating support for reducing its GHG emission intensity, BCA has consistently lobbied for policy that supports fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, while opposing policy specifically pushing renewable energy for not being “fuel neutral.” This approach appears to have informed the group’s lobbying on both the 2017 Clean Energy Target, as well as the 2018 National Energy Guarantee. This advocacy further appears to have included support for measures that would prolong the role of coal in Australia’s energy mix, and in 2018, BCA’s President, Jennifer Westacott, also advocated the need for investment into coal plants. At the same time, the group strongly opposed proposals to increase the federal level Renewable Energy Target (RET) in 2018. Likewise, BCA has been an opponent of state-level policy action on the energy mix, particularly opposing renewable energy targets. In 2020, with reference to its new position in favour of a “net-zero” emissions goal by 2050, BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott has clarified that the organisation is supporting a heavy reliance on technologies such as CCS and carbon sequestration “to drive the transition” towards this target, which she specifies “doesn’t mean we don’t emit”, supporting only an “incremental” change in Australia’s coal-dominated energy mix with an expanded role for natural gas. This reliance on low emissions technology is again a feature in BCA's 2020 submission to the technology investment roadmap, in which BCA also advocated to remove the current renewable energy mandates on ARENA ad CEFC and extending the agencies' remits to include funding non-renewables. BCA made this request again in its submission regarding economic recovery following COVID-19.

Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures
Communication of Climate Science
1 NS NA 1 1 NS NA
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
1 -1 NA 1 2 0 NA
Supporting the Need for Regulations
-1 1 NA -1 1 1 NA
Support of UN Climate Process
0 0 NA 0 1 0 NA
Transparency on Legislation
Carbon Tax
NS -2 NA NS -2 -1 NA
Emissions Trading
NS -1 NA 0 0 -1 NA
Energy and Resource Efficiency
1 1 NA -2 NS 1 NA
Renewable Energy
-1 -1 NA -1 -1 -1 NA
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
0 0 NA 0 -1 0 NA
GHG Emission Regulation
-1 0 NA -1 0 -1 NA
Disclosure on Relationships