Industry group calls for budget climate help

The Australian Industry Group says that businesses want to see more money spent on climate change to help them ease into an emissions trading scheme, ahead of this week’s budget.

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Although the Rudd government has decided to hold off on its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until 2013, the group’s chief executive Heather Ridout believes it is still the way to go.

She says businesses would like some certainty in the lead-up, starting with next week’s budget.

“We’ll be saying to the government in the budget – put some money back into the climate change action fund, so that industry can get on with the job of doing what it needs to do,” Ms Ridout told Network Ten on Sunday.

“So that when this thing does come into play we will be prepared and the whole thing will be better understood.”

She said it was also vital for the government to invest in training, saying the skills shortage was one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses.

“Seventy-five per cent of them expect to be hit by skills shortage at an extreme level over the next five years,” Ms Ridout said.

“There’s not a much more important issue than that.”

But at the same time, she urged the government to wind back its spending.

“If the budget doesn’t do some pretty smart work on fiscal policy, it will put more pressure on interest rates as night follows day,” Ms Ridout said.

Unemployed set to benefit

Unemployed young people are expected to receive a huge boost in skills training opportunities in the federal budget to boost productivity.

Hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on youth training to fill growing skills shortages in expanding industries, The Weekend Australian reported.