"Secret new carbon tax": Climate Change Minister Mark Butler claims that's what the coalition government's plan would lead to. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Coalition's ''direct action'' climate change plan would have raised more money in fines on electricity and coal companies last year than the controversial mining tax, according to Labor government analysis.
Data shows that $158.8 million would have been raised by penalising companies that emitted more than their ''business-as-usual'' greenhouse emissions in 2011-12.
Climate Change Minister Mark Butler claimed the penalties under the direct action plan amounted to a ''secret new carbon tax'', but opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt rejected the analysis and said the plan would not raise any revenue.
The data is based on the emissions figures declared by big polluters under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting system, and assumes penalties would be levied at a conservative rate of $10 a tonne of carbon dioxide.
About 220 companies met the criteria for penalties under the direct action scheme by increasing their emissions in 2011-12.
International Power would have been liable for a $14.9 million bill, Queensland power generator Stanwell would have been penalised $10.4 million, and Woodside Petroleum $8.9 million.
Other major polluters exposed under direct action include Alcoa with an $8.7 million bill, Rio Tinto with an $8.4 million bill, and AGL with $8.2 million.
The total cost to big polluters is higher than that raised by the mining tax, based on the latest budget estimates, once administration costs are factored in.
"This is Tony Abbott's own carbon tax that he's keeping secret, just like the savage cuts he's hiding from Australians,'' Mr Butler said.
"The man who said he'd fight a price on carbon until his last political breath has a great, big, new carbon tax sitting in the fine print of his own policy documents."
The data is based on publicly available information about the emissions of large polluting companies and the known elements of the direct action penalty methods, but Mr Hunt said the analysis was ''wrong, fabricated and false''.
Asked to explain how the figures were wrong, Mr Hunt said: ''We have booked no revenue from direct action and therefore those figures are completely wrong.
''We are budgeting zero revenue … from direct action.
''The ALP is raking in $9 billion from the carbon tax and this is set to rise by 50 per cent by 2019, according to PEFO [pre-election economic and fiscal outlook]."
Iain MacGill, of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at the University of NSW, said the analysis was ''useful''.
''From the bits of detail we have seen about 'direct action', this appears to be how it would be implemented … But we really need the opposition to release the details of the policy to understand how it would work,'' Dr MacGill said.