A carbon tax is now all but guaranteed in Australia from next July after the country’s elected parliamentary representatives this morning voted in favour of carbon tax legislation by a margin of 74 in favour and 72 against.
With the support of the Greens, Labor has the numbers it needs to pass the legislation through the Senate next month, meaning that a carbon tax from July 1, 2012, is now all but a certainty.
One cattle industry leader has described the tax as a "high-risk social experiment and a blind economic leap" which the industry cannot afford.
NT Cattlemen’s Association president Rohan Sullivan yesterday said the legislation should be deferred until Australians understand how, if at all, the tax will help arrest climate change.
“There probably isn’t a good time to impose another cost with questionable benefit to anyone, but now would be the very worst time,” Mr Sullivan said.
“The world is plunging into further economic uncertainty, we have no matching action from other countries, and let’s face it, no?one can tell me how this tax will reduce world emissions or how it will improve climate.
“With 1.5 per cent of world emissions Australia cannot make a difference, but we will shoot ourselves in the foot trying.”
Mr Sullivan said that the tax would increase the pastoral industry’s cost of doing business, which will damage its international competitiveness, along with the cost of daily life. It would also deliver a disproportionate blow to regional and remote Australia due to its heavy reliance on energy for transport and freight.
“We have been told that fuel for road transport will attract the tax after two years, and this will be a game changer, driving up the costs, forcing regional and remote business to cut the cloth and inevitably the real losers will be employees and their families from regional and remote indigenous communities and towns.
“Australia has been fortunate in weathering the world economic crisis so far, however with increasing inflation in competitor countries and a high Australian dollar, our ability to compete internationally is under fire.
“Add in increasing costs of production for agriculture and manufacturing, we’re not doing ourselves any favours.”