Australian Pollution Tax

Australia, one of the world’s biggest polluters due to their heavy reliance on coal-fired power, is introducing a new tax on emissions. The new tax will likely be a fixed Aus$23 (US$25) per tonne for carbon emissions and will affect 500 of the country’s worst offenders – only big businesses according to Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. The number of affected business was reduced from 1,000 to 500, and Gillard cites this change to emphasize that the tax will really only impact a very limited number of Australia’s big businesses.  However, the pollution tax will undoubtedly impact regular families as these affected businesses raise prices (somewhere in the neighborhood of Aus$406 per year).  The government has promised that 90% of all households would get tax relief in the form of tax cuts or pension boosts to help meet the rising living costs.  The tax is very controversial in Australia, but has been praised as “one of the most significant economic reforms in Australia for decades” (see AP news article).

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