The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a second time.(Read more about the stages that a bill must pass through to become law here. ) This means that the majority agree with the main idea of the bill and that they can now consider it in detail.
Background to the bill
The bill was introduced as part of a package of three related bills to establish a voluntary carbon offset scheme, to be called the Carbon Farming Initiative.(The other two related bills were the Carbon Credits (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011 and the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Bill 2011. ) Introducing this scheme was a Government election commitment. The bills digest explains that the Initiative will be "a voluntary scheme that aims to provide incentives for the agricultural and forestry sectors to minimise carbon emissions or maximise carbon sequestration by altering their forestry and agricultural practices".
The bill's stated objectives are:
- to implement certain commitments Australia has under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol to it
- to create incentives for carbon-abatement projects
- to increase carbon abatement while still protecting Australia’s natural environment and enhancing resilience to climate change impacts.(Read more about the bill in its bills digest.)