Australian Climate Minister outlines more detailed timeline for carbon tax

15:12, April 13, 2011      

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Australian Climate Change Minister Greg Combet on Wednesday outlined a more detailed timeline for implementing a carbon tax, with Treasury modeling due to be completed mid-year.

As well, a Productivity Commission examination of the impact of carbon prices on the economies of Australia's trading partners is expected in late May.

"For the carbon price to take effect from July 1 next year, as minister, I am aiming to finalize the detailed design in time to introduce the legislation into the parliament in the third quarter of this year," Combet told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

In a move to reassure business, Combet said he government was committed to providing substantial transitional assistance to emissions-intensive, trade exposed industries.

Combet said after compensation a 20.9 U.S. dollars-per-tonne price would add 2.7 U.S. dollars to the cost of a tonne of steel, which sells for around 835 U.S. dollars.

It would add 19.5 U.S. dollars to a tonne of aluminum, which sells for around 2,612 U.S. dollars.

"In other words, the carbon cost relating to the core pollution activity for steel would be one-third of one percent of the value of a tonne of steel and three-quarters of one percent of the value of a tonne of aluminum," he said.

The carbon tax revenue is expected to total at least 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2012/13.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard guaranteed the federal government will use more than 50 percent of the revenue raised from the carbon tax to assist households with cost of living rises.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said Labor's carbon tax risked redistributing wealth rather than changing people's behavior.

However, Combet rejected Hockey's argument outright, saying that providing with government's assistance will not remove the incentive for households to become more energy efficient.

Combet noted that the main behavioral change the carbon price was targeting was actually at the industry level.

He said details of how the compensation will be delivered will be announced at a later date.

Source: Xinhua
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