PERTH (miningweekly.com) − Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced the first of the 18 bills which will create Australia's carbon pricing policy, in Parliament on Tuesday.
Gillard said in a statement that the introduction of these bills in the House of Representatives was a “historic step”. “I am determined to make change work for us to create a cleaner environment and better opportunities for generations to come,” the Prime Minister said.
The Gillard government wants to introduce a A$23/t tax on carbon emissions from July next year.
The move has been condemned by several parties including miners and the opposition, which claim that the tax would cost jobs and negatively affect Australia’s competitiveness.
Leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, said on Tuesday that the carbon tax was one sided and that it would hit Australian industries hard.
Abbott also criticised the timetable for the introduction of the 18 carbon tax bills, which he described as the “most complex” in Australia’s history, and said that it is being rushed through Parliament. “As things stand, there is going to be less than one minute per member per bill of scrutiny of this legislation.”
But Gillard stated that employment was projected to grow strongly with a carbon price. Around 1.6-million jobs would be created by 2020 and a further 4.4-million by 2050, she said.
“The investments of the future are clean energy investments. All up, the carbon price will support A$100-billion worth of investments in renewable energy over the next forty years.
“The Australian economy will continue to prosper and incomes will rise while we cut pollution. Australians will be supported as we move towards a clean energy future.”
Reacting on whether enough discussion has taken place around the proposed carbon tax, federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said that “it is about time we got this done and I think that's what the Australian public want us to do”.
He added that despite the upheaval in the global financial markets, the federal government would not be considering a delay or altering the proposed carbon price.
“This is an important reform to strengthen our economy. Our economy is resilient and our economy is resilient because in the past we have put in place fundamental reforms to strengthen our economy.”
Greens deputy leader Christine Milne said that the introduction of clean energy legislation was a first step towards tackling climate change. "The Clean Energy Future bills are a vital first step in facing up to the reality of the climate crisis, tackling our pollution, building a stronger, cleaner economy and re-engaging with our global responsibility,” she stated.