Don Page backing Turnbull on an ETS

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is right to engage with the Government on an emissions trading scheme, Ballina State MP Don Page has said.

Breaking step with many of his Federal colleagues, who believe negotiations should be delayed until next year, after the Copenhagen climate conference in December, or abandoned altogether, Mr Page said Australia needed an emissions trading scheme and it needed it soon.

“We can't be in denial about climate change and we need to take a number of measures on the issue, and an emissions trading scheme is one of those things,” he said. “It has to deliver climate change benefits and minimise the economic impact.

“We don't have an unlimited amount of time. We have to get on with it.”

Mr Page pointed out the trading scheme was not something being debated at the State level and said his comments would put him 'out of whack' with some of his National Party colleagues.

However, he said it was important to get a scheme that worked.

“If that means we have to have a big impact on the big polluters, then that's how it has to be,” he said.

“Those people that are polluting need to pay an appropriate price to do so.”

Mr Turnbull has said he wants his party to put a series of amendments on the Government's emissions trading scheme and he wants the party room to approve those amendments at a meeting on October 19.

He has warned the Coalition could end up with only '15 per cent of the vote' if it goes to the next election 'on the climate change sceptic platform'.

Mr Page said the Federal Coalition needed to be an active part of finding a solution.

“We can't just vacate the field,” he said. “If you didn't agree with it then you could walk away, but I'm not one of those. I'm pretty convinced by the science and the need, economically, to do something. The Stern report (which was released in the UK in 2006) was strong on that. We address it now or we address bigger issues down the track.”

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