Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has achieved plenty of political opportunity courtesy of the carbon tax, which arrives tomorrow.
We are all likely to wake up poorer tomorrow, but it won’t be just because of a price being imposed on gas emissions.
Independent modelling confirms increases will be low and that the federal government’s compensation payments are about right.
The big impost on Australians this financial year comes courtesy of large increases in electricity and gas charges and, in some cases, council rates.
The carbon tax, while it has an influence on electricity charges, is not the big inflator. Government incompetence is the main contributor here.
If you live in Tamworth you are also paying dearly for petrol, with the city being slugged with some of the highest prices in NSW. Why this is so remains one of life’s mysteries. It can’t be transport, because yesterday Tamworth’s average price for unleaded fuel was dearer than in Broken Hill.
With the carbon tax now officially here at long last, we will be able to sort out fact from fiction.
There have been all sorts of claims and counter-claims about the tax and where it will be felt. And while it is largely unpopular, it will not bring the national economy to a crawl.
What has been forgotten during the political dogfight over the tax is the reason it is being introduced.
Yesterday, Australia’s second-biggest bank described the tax as the “single most effective mechanism” to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The first report of the Australian Energy Market Operator, released yesterday, showed business was already responding, with a 2.4 per cent drop in energy use in 2011/12.
According to Westpac’s executive director of commodities Geoff Rousel, a lot of the bank’s business and industry customers had formed the view a price on carbon was inevitable and was part of the “global energy solution”.
And on Monday when business and industry gets moving again for another week, the federal government will be keen to point out not much has changed.
The people, however, will be the final arbitrator of who was right and wrong in the great carbon tax debate.