Oz Carbon Tax Made Law After Years Of Debate - ("It will drive up the cost of living, threaten jobs and do nothing for the environment.")
JoeBtfsplk 2012/07/01 12:55:14
Australia's parliament has finally passed a tax on pollution after years of debate and protest.
The Carbon Tax will see Australia's 500 biggest polluters paying for the carbon they emit - but large sections of the public are unhappy about the new law.
The vote only just passed through the Senate, with the minority government having to rely on the support of the Green party.
Australia accounts for only 1.5% of global emissions but is the biggest polluter per head in the developed world because of its reliance on coal for much of its electricity.
The vote is a major victory for embattled Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who staked her government's future on the carbon pricing scheme despite huge hostility from voters and political opponents.
After the vote finance minister Penny Wong told the Senate: "Today marks the beginning of Australia's clean energy future. This is an historic moment, this is an historic reform, a reform that is long overdue."
The carbon price will impose a cost on every ton of carbon emitted, giving companies a financial incentive to curb pollution, and will help Australia reach its goal to cut emissions by 5% of year 2000 levels by 2020.
The government hopes the legislation will encourage the use of cleaner forms of energy as well as boost research into alternatives to fossil fuels.
However, full introduction of the Australian scheme remains uncertain, with conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott promising to scrap the carbon price if he wins power.
Mr Abbott has campaigned tirelessly against the new laws. He was abroad for Tuesday's vote but he issued a statement to reaffirm his promise to repeal the laws.
"The longer this tax is in place, the worse the consequences for the economy, jobs and families," he said.
"It will drive up the cost of living, threaten jobs and do nothing for the environment."
The tax will take effect in the middle of 2012 before moving to a carbon-trading scheme in 2015.
clik link to view video of Prime Minister Julia Gillard speak;
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