Saturday, April 2, 2011

'Won't clean up nature, will clean wallet'

THE carbon tax Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised never to introduce will cost average families $860 a year, Federal Government modelling has revealed.

Based on a carbon price of $30 a tonne, families would pay up to $218 more for electricity, $114 for gas, $187 for petrol and $88 for food, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Treasury documents, released under FOI, revealed households would pay the fixed price for between three and five years (before moving to an emissions trading scheme), leaving families with a bill between $2589 and $4315 over that time.Heavily censored documents claim price rises would "drive household behaviour change, with households substituting to less carbon intensive goods over time".

But it was acknowledged in a Treasury executive minute last October that low-income families would suffer the most because they spend more on things like electricity and are least able to afford low emissions technology.Treasury also raised fears the tax would reduce people's wealth.

"A carbon price will also affect wealth as the change in prices flows through to the value of financial assets, including shares, and reduces the real value of savings," the minute states

"This just demonstrates that the Government has known all along that its carbon tax won't clean up the environment but it will clean out your wallet," Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet dismissed the claims today, arguing they were based on a now aborted emissions trading scheme.

"We haven't yet settled all the design elements, including the starting price for carbon, so what these figures are are various scenarios based upon the design of a previous emissions trading scheme," he told ABC Radio.

Mr Combet said it was "perfectly appropriate" to model different carbon price scenarios.

"They are not the modelling that would reflect the Government's current approach," he said.

The Government is reportedly considering tax and welfare breaks of between $600 and $1500 a year.

It comes as an exclusive survey by The Daily Telegraph reveals why voters are so angry about the proposal.

A quarter of the 2500 households surveyed said they were already struggling to make ends meet and almost 9 per cent said they didn't have enough money to pay bills.

"I think it might be an unnecessary tax, I could probably do better with the money in my pocket and make a concerted effort to reduce my carbon emissions, rather than be taxed," Greg Hudson, 32, from Neutral Bay, said yesterday.

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