Today is the day change for the better begins. With the Clean Energy Act coming into effect, we are making our first big steps in building a clean energy economy and cutting the pollution that drives global warming.
A clean energy economy means more jobs and innovation. It means cleaner air and a safer climate. It means a healthier, smarter, fairer society.
But you can be absolutely sure that the naysayers and doomsayers, those who profit from pollution or who simply try to hold back change, will be out in force in the coming days attacking what we have all achieved.
I know, as you know, as every poll shows, that there are millions of us who welcome this change for the better. If we aren't to be shouted down again, I need you to write to the papers today to make your voice heard.
So, with July 1 here, what has changed?
Australia has started to tax what polluters burn, not what you earn. Under the Clean Energy Act, the largest polluters will be charged for every tonne of pollution they put into the atmosphere, which gives them an incentive to find cleaner ways of doing business.
A smart society is also a fair society. So the tax-free threshold on personal income has been tripled, helping people on low incomes most of all, and everyone earning less than $80,000 a year will pay less income tax from today. Support for those without incomes is also going up substantially. Starting to tax pollution instead of income - what a great outcome for Australia.
We're also making our largest ever public investment in renewable energy, putting Australia firmly on the map as a smart tech nation. There's a $3.2 billion consolidated fund to support research and development, helping great Australian ideas become reality. Then there's the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation I wrote to you about last week, to take those ideas and build them on a national scale. That means a jobs boom, especially in rural and regional Australia, and a substantial shift in thinking about how we produce energy.
There's so much more:
- Communities and businesses will benefit from lower power bills, thanks to a $1.5 billion investment in energy efficiency.
- Australia's first Biodiversity Fund will protect critical habitat for our native species and establish natural carbon stores, funded by the carbon price.
- We've cut hand outs to fossil fuel corporations, winding back the rebate mining companies and others get on their fuel bills.
- We've finally put an end to the absurdity of classifying the burning of native forest products as 'renewable energy'.
- We're starting to plan energy scenarios for an Australia powered by 100% renewable energy.
- We've appointed an outstanding team of experts to an independent board to recommend how fast and deep to cut pollution, reporting back for the first time in 2014.
Without you choosing the Greens at the last election and putting the Greens in the balance of power in both Houses, none of this would have happened. Beginning today, we're all changing Australia for the better.
We all know this is great news, and hugely popular. So let's make our voices heard again.
The most important thing you can do today is help remind editors and readers that there are plenty of Australians who are glad that we're taxing pollution and not people on low incomes.
We're glad that we're finally going to properly back the innovators who'll power Australia with the sun, wind, water and waves - and we're glad that we're protecting our natural environment at the same time.
Today's the start of an amazing transformation in Australia. Thank you for being part of it.