As PM Tony Abbott ratchets up the pressure on Labor’s Bill Shorten to axe the carbon tax by Christmas, the new figures will be released this month by Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
They reveal that the introduction of the carbon tax coincided with a reduction of greenhouse gases of around 300,000 tonnes in the first full financial year of operation.
While the carbon tax is now $24 a tonne, the effective cost of the emissions reduction on the basis of revenue raised is $21,000 per tonne.
The official register of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions will reveal that in the financial year before the carbon tax was introduced Australia produced 546.2 million tonnes of emissions. After the carbon tax was introduced, the emissions dropped to just 545.9 million tonnes. These figures do not include fuels and refrigerants.
Climate Change Minister Greg Hunt said the best Christmas present Labor could give voters was axing the carbon tax.
“Bill Shorten simply refuses to accept the outcome of the election. He doesn’t care about rising power bills or the will of the Australian people,” Mr Hunt said.
“As we enter the final parliamentary sitting week of the year, Bill Shorten needs to get out of the way and allow the government to scrap the carbon tax.”
Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler said Labor supported axing the carbon tax but not replacing it with a slush fund for polluters.
“We went to the election with a policy to get rid of the carbon tax. The debate is over what you replace it with. That’s why we are arguing the case for an emissions trading scheme,” he said.
“The biggest contributor to carbon pollution is the electricity sector and so that’s where you want to see change. And we did see change in that sector during the first year. The Coalition’s policy is a dressed-up slush fund to pay polluters that is supported by no one.”
The new figures reveal NSW produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other state. But Queensland has the most companies paying the tax upfront. The cost of the carbon tax on electricity generators and other polluters is then passed on to consumers through higher electricity prices. Victoria is closely behind Queensland in total emissions.
In NSW and the ACT, there were 72 companies paying the carbon tax and overall the state produced 78.6 million tonnes of emissions. WA produced 42.2 million tonnes with 63 companies forced to pay the carbon tax. In SA just 11 companies paid the carbon tax, producing a modest 4.4 million tonnes of liable emissions. Tasmania produced just 1.7 million tonnes.