Monday, 2 July 2012

Carbon [dioxide] Tax - useful or useless?

The Australian Greens/Labor Coalition carbon [dioxide] tax came into operation in Australia on 1st July 2012 and the Labor Prime Minister and her Treasurer have told me I should rejoice because not only have I been compensated for the tax, but I will also be $10 a week better off.
I find this hard to believe as I only received $4 a week compensation. I presume the money I was paid in a lump sum before the end of this financial year was borrowed as the carbon tax hasn’t been paid yet. I smell some ‘Enron’ smart accounting going on here.

The tax will be paid by the country’s top carbon dioxide emitters, it was originally a top 500 but now it’s the top 300 and changing daily. The tax is $23 a tonne, but some industries have managed to get concessional rates as low as $1.30 a tonne. For some reason local government garbage tips have to pay top rate. Just how the tax will flow through as higher prices we have yet to find out, but I don’t think my extra $4 will cover it.

The Liberal/Country Party Coalition have committed to repealing the tax if they win the next election in about eighteen months, but it will take at least six months at the earliest. The political commentators mostly think that the Liberals will win but that’s assuming we don’t have a dictatorship before then.

When politicians talk about repealing taxes I am reminded of Britain’s Income Tax introduced by William Pitt in 1799 as a temporary measure to fund the Napoleonic Wars. It was repealed in 1816 but re-introduced by Robert Peel in 1842. Now we all pay income tax.

There are people and companies that support a price on carbon, but a closer look will show that these people and companies expect to make a lot of money out of emissions trading and alternative energy. In the end it’s all about money and politics.

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