Climate Tax Debate Heats Up

Added by on March 6, 2011

As the debate over the government’s proposed price on carbon heats up, Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan insists the measure is not a new tax.

With Prime Minister Julia Gillard visiting the US, Mr Swan has had to step up the defence of the proposed initiative.

“I accept that there’s a lot of confusion about the fact that we are bringing in an interim price, which people describe as a carbon tax,” he told media, but insisted that the priced carbon will not be taken from individuals’ pay but rather from the big polluters.

He also accused opposition for spinning a “big lie” to confuse people about the initiative.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott, however, said “If it acts like a tax and it hits you like a tax, it is a tax.”

Andrew Robb, opposition finance spokesman, called the measure “economic madness” and that “there is no environmental gain … we lose jobs and we export emissions.”

Cabinet minister Peter Garrett, on the other hand, argued that a price of carbon would help businesses gain certainty about the direction the economy is taking, and that such a price is the “best and lowest cost option” for reducing carbon emissions.