Australia’s carbon tax repealed after 2 years
Australia’s Conservative government repealed a much-maligned carbon tax on the nation’s worst greenhouse gas polluters on Thursday, ending years of contention over a measure that became political poison for the lawmakers who imposed it.
The Senate voted 39 to 32 to axe the $24.34 Cdn tax per metric tonne of carbon dioxide that was introduced by the centre-left Labour government in July 2012. Conservative lawmakers burst into applause as the final tally was announced.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative coalition government rose to power last year on the promise of getting rid of the tax, assuring voters that removing it would reduce household electricity bills. He plans to replace the measure with a taxpayer-financed $2.57 billion fund to pay industry incentives to use cleaner energy.
“Today, the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone: a useless, destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra.
Australia is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita, largely because of its heavy reliance on the nation’s vast reserves of cheap coal for electricity.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten lashed out at Abbott after the vote, dubbing him an “environmental vandal.” (Source: CBC News)
In June, Harper praised Abbott, who was visiting Ottawa, for his work as chair of the G20, as well as for ending Australia’s carbon tax.
“You’ve used this international platform to encourage our counterparts in the major economies and beyond to boost economic growth, to lower taxes when possible and to eliminate harmful ones, most notably the job-killing carbon tax,” Harper said.
Harper also took an indirect shot at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, saying Harper and Abbott know that budgets don’t balance themselves. Canadian Conservative MPs jumped on Trudeau last February after Trudeau said economic growth would mean “the budget will balance itself.”
Abbott and Harper praised each other, with Abbott telling reporters that Harper has been a guide to centre-right politicians around the world. (Source: CBC News)
Posted at iPolitics.