Seen as the biggest economic reform in a generation, the proposed “carbon pollution reduction system” unveiled by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong yesterday will hit 1000 firms responsible for 75 per cent of Australian greenhouse gas emissions, with a cost for their carbon pollution. The scheme will flow through to every section of the economy, causing a one-off jump in inflation of about 0.9 per cent at a relatively low initial carbon price of $20 a tonne.
The new impost could drive up electricity bills by 16 per cent and gas bills by 9 per cent.
But the Government will lift pensions to cover the increased costs, with low-income households earning up to $53,000 also to be shielded through direct payments or tax cuts.
Middle-income households will receive an unspecified amount of limited financial help, possibly through a tax cut.
You can’t help being cynical about this emission trading scheme from Brother Number One. Or thinking that in political terms it is a perfect example of the old shell game. By “compensating” most low income people(largely supporters of Brother Number One) the government hopes to protect its electoral foundations from harm until after the 2010 general election. The partial replacement of the fuel excise with the carbon price is clearly aimed at that. But there is a great way to avoid all of the impact on Australian voters and that is to drop the whole thing. Frankly that is what the opposition should be advocating. They should be saying long and loud that any Australian go it alone ETS is utterly pointless without global co-operation in the absence of any efforts from China the USA and India. And it is about time that some opposition polles started to resist the stupid claims that CO2 is a “pollutant”, heaven in a hand basket, it is an essential element in all of the biological processes of the planet, without it no plants would grow and no animals (including us) would survive.
Brother Number One , for good or for bad , has hitched his wagon to the climate change caravan and with any luck the people will start to recognise that it is a snake oil show that promises much but that will deliver nowt, with another two years of non warming maybe the Australian people will realise that the way to deal with snake oil sales men is this…