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Australia

Carbon companies must pay to pollute, says PM Gillard

Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has presented a bill for a new pollution tax aimed at reducing carbon emission by 80 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050. The controversial tax means the nation’s biggest producers of carbon emissions will have to pay to pollute from July next year. 

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Australia is one of the world’s worst per capita polluters and a major exporter of coal. How to combat climate change has been an ongoing challenge for governments and previous bills to introduce emission trading schemes have been defeated.

Gillard has sufficient numbers to push her Clean Energy Bill 2011 through parliament, but it is bitterly opposed by the conservative opposition which claim it will be ineffective and will impact on jobs.

Protests against the tax have taken place across the country with demonstrators saying Gillard has gone back on her promise, ahead of the August 2010 election, not to introduce a carbon tax under a government she led.

The bill, which will be voted on on 12 October, provides a fixed carbon price for three years starting at 17 euros per tonne of carbon pollution before moving to a cap and trade emission scheme in 2015.

The government says it will use the money to provide tax cuts, increase family payments and invest in clean energy.
 

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