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Carbon tax debate rages after Abbott repeal pledge, jobs at stake

The Federal Parliament is in uproar following Opposition Leader Mr Tony Abbott’s pledge to repeal the proposed carbon tax.

Greens Senator Mr Bob Brown says Mr Abbott is being irresponsible by insisting that petrol be exempt from a carbon tax.

“Tony Abbott was part of the arrangement with Kevin Rudd for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme which included a carbon price which extended to petrol,” he said.

Mr Abbott is no longer following that line of thinking and has instead vowed to abolish a Labor-introduced carbon tax if the Liberals eventually win government. This has created huge debate in Parliament with Prime Minister Julia Gillard saying his position is a damaging blow for the economy, while Mr Brown says Mr Abbott is trying to protect big business.

“What Tony Abbott wants to do with his $3.2 billion program coming out of the public purse is put the burden on the average Australian household and let the polluters get off scot free.”

On the ABC’s 7.30 Report, Mr Brown echoed the Prime Minister’s comments saying “Economists and business want the certainty of knowing where we’re going with carbon pricing policy. Tony Abbott is the wrecker. It’s a strange inversion where the Greens are being economically responsible and Tony Abbott, from the conservative side, is the irresponsible force for uncertainty into the future.”

According to research by the Climate Institute, up to 34,000 new jobs in regional areas could be at stake if the carbon tax is not introduced. These jobs would be in cleaner energy sectors, including solar power.

“Australia stands at the doorway to a clean energy transition that can drive tens of billions of dollars of investment in the electricity sector creating a net increase of close to 34,000 new jobs in regional Australia,” said CEO of The Climate Institute, Mr John Connor.

Industry observers say that putting a price on carbon, and introducing clean energy policies, could result in around 43 percent of Australia’s electricity being generated from geothermal, large scale solar energy, bio-energy, hydro, wind power and natural gas by 2030.

Currently just 12 percent of Australia’s power needs are supplied by “green” sources. Without a carbon tax this is unlikely to change dramatically in the short term.

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Elayn James

Elayn James

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