NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce has hailed the possible scrapping of the carbon tax as a watershed breakthrough for families and businesses, but local critics have branded it “short-sighted and dangerous”.
The carbon tax repeal bills are expected to pass through the lower house this week, ahead of a special four-day sitting of the new federal Senate from July 7, where the bills are also likely to gain passage.
Mr Joyce, a staunch critic of the tax, said its abolition would deliver New England households a $550 annual hip-pocket boost.
“The government was elected with a mandate to scrap the carbon tax and reduce costs for business and households, boost jobs and manufacturing, and restore Australia’s international competitiveness,” Mr Joyce said.
“Households in New England are forecast to be around $550 a year better off, on average, in 2014/15 without the carbon tax. Electricity bills are forecast to be around 9 per cent lower than they otherwise would be.
“There should be no doubt about our determination to get rid of Labor’s painful yet pointless tax.”
But New England Energy Futures regional co-ordinator Emma Stilts said rolling back the tax would expose future generations.
“Putting a price on carbon is the most effective way of limiting greenhouse emissions,” Mrs Stilts said.
“Those carbon emissions pose the biggest threat to our lifestyle and economy. Fossil fuels are finite and we know we are going to run out. It’s only a matter of time.
“If we know that’s going to happen, why not move to renewable energy for the sake of our children?
“The risk of not acting is huge.”
She also scoffed at suggestions the carbon tax was putting an unfair impost on households, saying the recent federal budget was a graver threat to families.
“Look at the fuel excise, the Medicare co-payment, the loss of the family tax benefits,” she said.
“I don’t know how $550 will make a difference when the government is already cutting thousands from lower- and middle-income families.”