1 May

Where is the carbon tax headed?

One of the election promises Tony Abbott made prior to becoming Prime Minister was that the LNP would seek to repeal the Carbon Tax the Labor government had put in place.

Regardless of where you stand on the matter, – whether you support or oppose the tax itself – there is still the question as to whether or not the Abbott government will be able to repeal the tax itself. And if they do, what alternate solution do they have in place?

Last month, Australia’s upper house Senate voted down legislation put forward by the Abbott government to repeal the carbon tax. Members of the Labor opposition and Greens Party ultimately ensured the legislation wouldn’t go through, with it voted down 33 votes to 29. But the reason for the opposition isn’t just because the Labor Party is driven to preserve something from when it was in power.

One of the main issues the LNP needs to address is exactly what they will do to replace the carbon tax with something that can be as effective at deterring high levels of pollution. Taxing businesses may not be seen as the ideal solution to fighting climate change for everyone, but it is still a better solution than anything the LNP has come forward with. And, unfortunately, the LNP has also made a name for itself as being resistant to addressing climate change in general.

A shining success, albeit run on a more state-by-state level, has been giving Australians incentive to invest in newer, cleaner energy sources. In Queensland, for example, the rebates offered for adopting solar energy – and the fact that solar had the potential of being almost free if users didn’t exceed a certain usage amount and excess energy was returned to the grid – drove a large chunk of the state’s population to change over to solar. But now these rebates are being stripped back, as well as other additional incentives. 

Many of the rewards of lower pollution levels and/or investing in cleaner energies are now being made redundant by the LNP. Because of this, there is resistance to the government also wanting to repeal the carbon tax. Because if the carbon tax is the only main way of lowering carbon emissions for the time being, the opposition will fight tooth and nail to keep it in action, even if it’s not as popular as other alternatives out there.

The LNP needs to care about the environment

If the LNP actually wants to repeal the carbon tax, they need to have a respectable alternative in place. The carbon tax may polarise many, but it has helped reduced carbon emissions. But in past blogs, we’ve also noted the fact that, in theory, Australia could embrace a 100% renewable energy alternative – our climate actually allows for it where other countries’ climates do not.

Even if it’s not a 100% embrace across businesses and individuals, this is one alternative the LNP could actually be promoting. Instead of doing so, however, the government is removing the incentive to invest in cleaner energies. Why remove the rebates for solar if it could actually be good for the environment? If businesses and homes could could run off solar (or at least have a percentage of their energy run off solar), then that would still be better than no solar at all.

While we understand that factors of cost for implementing such changes could impede this, climate change cannot be ignored. Because if the LNP simply chooses to act as though climate change does not matter in contemporary politics, then the carbon tax repeal will never go through. It’s not that we’re for one side or the other, but carbon emission reduction goals do need to be met, and the LNP needs to have a proper strategy for meeting these goals, carbon tax or no carbon tax.

For now, though, while the government refuses to give climate change the weight and consideration it deserves by not offering up an acceptable alternative to the carbon tax, the carbon tax itself will remain.

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