Over half the money raised from the carbon price is being used to assist households.
Household Assistance – Indigenous Australians
Scientists advise that the world is warming and high levels of carbon pollution risk environmental and economic damage. No responsible government can ignore this advice.
To tackle the challenge the Australian Government has announced it will put a price on carbon pollution from 1 July 2012, to encourage companies and individuals to move to a clean energy future.
There are a range of programs that will help Indigenous Australians adjust to a clean energy future and take advantage of the real and lasting opportunities it creates.
Many Indigenous Australians will be eligible for a range of tax cuts and household assistance.
The Household Assistance Package, worth $14.9 billion over four years, will help households meet their expected increase in costs of living due to the carbon price.
Through this package all low-income and middle-income Indigenous households will be eligible for assistance that at least offsets their expected average price impact from the carbon price.
Additionally, Indigenous Australians receiving a pension, other allowances or the Family Tax Benefit will receive assistance with the costs of the carbon price.
Remote Indigenous Energy Program
A new $40 million Remote Indigenous Energy Program will help Indigenous communities access, affordable and reliable 24-hour power supplies which increase their energy efficiency and use it to contribute to improvements in health, education and long-term economic viability.
Starting in 2012, the program will provide financial support to install renewable energy generation systems in around 50 remote Indigenous communities over the life of the program. It will also include training in basic system maintenance and the provision of energy efficiency information to encourage ongoing energy management.
This will make a significant impact on those communities who currently rely on diesel generators for their power supplies.
The Remote Indigenous Energy Program builds on the Bushlight program which has provided reliable and affordable renewable energy systems to isolated Indigenous communities.
Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund
The ongoing $22 million Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund will assist Indigenous communities to participate in and benefit from the Carbon Farming Initiative. Funding will be provided for specialists to work with Indigenous communities to develop carbon farming projects and reporting tools for abatement activities which many Indigenous people are involved with, such as savanna fire management.
This funding will help to build on the success of activities such as the Western Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project. Projects such as this provide opportunities for Indigenous rangers to work on their own country, fulfilling their customary land management obligations while reducing the spread and intensity of fires in these regions.
Indigenous Australians will benefit from the new $946 million Biodiversity Fund which will support a range of projects to foster and preserve biodiversity around Australia.
The fund will improve the resilience of Australia’s unique species to the impacts of climate change, enhance the environmental outcomes of carbon farming projects, and help traditional owners protect carbon and biodiversity values on their land.
Low Carbon Communities
In line with the Government’s ongoing support for household action on climate change, the Low Carbon Communities program has been expanded to include support for energy efficiency activities in low income households.
Indigenous community organisations may be eligible for funding grants through three initiatives:
- the extended $200 million Low Carbon Communities program to support energy efficiency upgrades to council and community-use buildings, facilities and lighting
- the new $100 million Low Income Energy Efficiency Program to support local councils, community organisations and energy service companies to trial energy efficiency approaches in low income households, and
- the new $30 million Household Energy and Financial Sustainability Scheme to assist low-income households find more sustainable ways to manage their energy consumption.