Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Australia moves to control carbon emissions - it's a taxing time

The Greens Leader - Senator Bob Brown (centre)
with Greens Deputy Leader - Senator Christine Milne
House of Representatives Member for Melbourne -

Australia's current version of the carbon tax passed the Senate and into law to-day.  There was great cheering in the Senate with The Greens indulging in celebratory hugs and kisses.  Don't blame them.  A lot of work has gone into coming this far.  A few words of caution though - how far will this take us?  That is the unknown ..but the work of the climate change sceptics and deniers and their supporters is not an unknown quantity and the current Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has promised that - if and - when he becomes Prime Minister he will repeal the legislation.  So this is not the end of a story...it is one more chapter in a saga whose end is yet to be finally proven, settled, and law becomes a lifestyle.

1.              Carbon emissions tax for the 500 biggest polluters starts on July 1, 2012
2.              Tax moves to an emissions trading scheme in 2015
3.              Advertisement: Story continues below
4.              Tax begins at a fixed price of $23 a tonne and rise by 2.5 per cent a year until 2015.
5.              Tax will not apply to agricultural emissions or light on-road vehicles
6.              Electricity generation, stationary energy, some business transport, waste, industrial processes and fugitive emissions will be covered by the initial tax
7.              Average households will see a $9.90 weekly cost rise
8.              Average households will receive assistance of $10.10 weekly
9.              Free carbon permits will be the given to the most emissions-intensive and trade-exposed industries
10.            The government wants to cut pollution by 80 per cent by 2050.

(Source: Australian government)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard hugs Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Labor had its moment in the sun and of self-congratulation on October 12 last when the legislation passed the House of Representatives with the support of the one Green member in the lower house and two independents, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.  

Now we wait...
  • for the implementation of the legislation
  • for the surprise of the electorate when the legislation works without hardship or a jobs crisis
  • to see the making and breaking of political leadership: Gillard or Abbott
  • to see more artful dodging and vile slander from the sceptics
  • to cheer for Australia as she makes a major contribution to caring for our planet, other species, and ourselves.
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