Some of the media are still carrying water for Australia’s Green/Left government, claiming this assault on consumers is a “tax on pollution”. It isn’t, of course, it’s on carbon dioxide emissions – basically a tax on electricity production.
The only certainties are that this is harmful to Australia’s economy and that it will be short-lived but expensive to get rid of.
Australia on Sunday joins a growing number of nations to impose a price on carbon emissions across its $1.4 trillion economy in a bitterly contested reform that offers trading opportunities for banks and polluters but may cost the prime minister her job.
Australia’s biggest polluters, from coal-fired power stations to smelters, will initially pay A$23 ($23) per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, more than twice the cost of carbon pollution in the European Union, currently trading around 8.15 euros ($10) a tonne.
The economic pain will be dulled by billions of dollars in sweeteners for businesses and voters to minimise the impact on costs, with the consumer price index forecast to rise by an extra 0.7 percentage point in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The scheme allows emissions trading from 2015, when polluters and investors will be able to buy overseas carbon offsets, or ultimately trade with schemes in Europe, New Zealand and possibly those planned in South Korea and China.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s minority government says the plan is needed to fight climate change and curb greenhouse gas pollution. Australia has amongst the world’s highest per capita CO2 emissions due to its reliance on coal-fired power stations.
Yet even as it starts, the scheme’s future is in doubt. The conservative opposition has vowed to repeal it if they win power in elections due by late next year and have whipped up a scare campaign saying the tax will cost jobs and hurt the economy.
Gillard, her poll ratings near record lows and her Labor party heading for a heavy election defeat, hopes that the campaign will quickly run out of steam once the scheme starts.
Anti-carbon tax ads launched by the opposition
The federal opposition has launched a major advertising campaign accusing Prime Minister Julia Gillard of lying about the carbon tax.
THE $23 per tonne price on carbon emissions started on Sunday, directly impacting on 294 electricity generators and other companies.
The opposition says the tax will hurt Australian businesses and consumers and has pledged to repeal it once in power.
The Liberal Party launched its print and TV advertising campaign on Sunday, accusing Ms Gillard of lying about the tax.
The ads have appeared in the Sunday newspapers and are due to run on TV from today.
In the lead-up to the 2010 general election, Ms Gillard vowed not to introduce a carbon tax under her leadership.
Tony Abbott won’t dump carbon tax: Julia Gillard
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has repeated claims that the opposition won’t be able to repeal the carbon tax if it wins power.
The $23 per tonne price on carbon emissions started today, directly impacting on 294 electricity generators and other companies.
The federal government is aiming to cut carbon emissions by five per cent by 2020, with the carbon tax shifting to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has pledged to repeal the tax as his first act as prime minister, should he win the next election.
Ms Gillard says he won’t actually deliver on his promise.
“Businesses have got themselves ready for carbon pricing,” she told ABC Television on Sunday.
“New investments have been made.
“Against all of that backdrop, Mr Abbott will find himself in a position where he cannot go to the next election pretending anything else than carbon pricing is going to stay.”
Industry compensation to be repealed along with carbon tax, says Coalition
THE Coalition says carbon tax compensation for industry will be repealed with the carbon tax but it has refused to say how long household assistance will remain under an Abbott government.
Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt said taxpayers had already begun paying the carbon tax, which came into effect at midnight, declaring “everything has come up in price”.
Mr Hunt said the Coalition would rescind the tax within six months, “with or without Labor”, and industry compensation would also be axed.
“The industry compensation and the tax are linked,” he said.
But he declined to say when an Abbott government would begin to pull apart the compensation scheme.
“We’ll make a detailed statement after the next budget or before the next election if that occurs before the next budget, on appropriate tax cuts without a carbon tax,” he said.
Rejecting suggestions the Coalition’s anti-carbon tax rhetoric had been over-blown, Mr Hunt said today was “beginning of the rest of your life in terms of the carbon tax”.
“(Australians) will have paid the tax already when they turned on the heating in the morning,” he told Sky News’ Australian Agenda.
“They would have paid the tax when they opened the fridge door. They’ll be paying the tax to watch this television program unless they’ve got a pedal TV.
“It’s absolutely clear that the tax is an electricity tax, and it starts today but not finishes today.”
Carbon Polluters, Coal Miners Paying In Australian Tax Overhaul
Australia is charging its largest polluters for carbon emissions and taxing profits of iron ore and coal producers starting today in the biggest change since 2000 in how the government collects and spends money.
The country will assess almost 300 of its largest polluters a fixed price of A$23 ($23.42) a metric ton for their greenhouse gases. Mining companies including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. face a separate levy on 30 percent of earnings from iron starting today.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who pushed her climate law through Parliament last year, is trailing in opinion polls behind the Liberal-National coalition led by Tony Abbott, who has vowed to repeal carbon pricing. Gillard is counting on payouts and credits worth about A$30 billion over the next four years to placate Australian business and households facing higher power bills.
“When the dust settles following the furious debate that we’ve had about carbon pricing, I think Australians will come to see that this has been an important reform at the right time,” Gillard said yesterday, according to an e-mail from her office.
Carbon pricing is Australia’s main tool for meeting its target of a 5 percent cut in emissions from 2000 levels by 2020. The levy will be fixed until 2015, when the country plans to introduce a market-based system.