Two chimneys spewing smoke

Carbon tax to become law, business unhappy

The Gillard Government’s carbon tax legislation has passed through Parliament, making it certain a tax of $23 per tonne of carbon on the country’s 500 worst polluters will begin in 2012, and businesses aren’t happy.

The Federal Government and the Greens joined forces in the Upper House to force the 18 clean energy bills through yesterday, winning the vote 36 to 32.

Climate groups have welcomed the news, with Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Don Henry saying the legislation if the first step in the process of tackling climate change.

“Industries that do want to contribute to creating a cleaner and healthier future for our children and grandchildren now have an incentive to find new, cleaner ways to do business.”

Business groups have responded less positively, with NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright saying the tax puts local businesses at a “competitive disadvantage.

“We called for the Government to ‘go low, and start slow’ but it has chosen to start with a carbon price twice as high as Europe. Now that the Government has locked us into a carbon-taxed economy, the pressure will be on the Prime Minister to secure a global and fair agreement on pricing carbon emissions.”

“The only way the Government can reduce the competitive disadvantage it is placing on Australian businesses is to rescind the carbon tax or secure a global agreement that places the same costs on overseas businesses as it does on Australian businesses,” Cartwright added.

The National Farmers Federation also expressed its disappointment in the passing of the tax legislation, fearing it will mean farmers will have to bear indirect burdens of the tax.

“We have fought against the introduction of this tax, as we know that it is going to add extra costs into our farm businesses,” NFF President Jock Laurie said.

“The figures speak for themselves – we know farmers are going to shoulder the burden of additional input costs, in some cases up to $10,000 per annum, and we still have real concerns about processing sector costs being passed back to farmers.”

Do you expect the carbon tax will have a significant impact on your small business? How?

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