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Coalition's carbon plan 'a secret tax'

"Secret new carbon tax": Climate Change Minister Mark Butler claims that's what the Coalition's plan would lead to.

"Secret new carbon tax": Climate Change Minister Mark Butler claims that's what the Coalition's plan would lead to. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Some electricity and coal companies would have had to pay for their rising emissions last year under the Coalition's direct action climate change policy despite the opposition stressing they would not be penalised, according to a Labor analysis.

It found the direct action policy would have raised $158.8 million - more than the hotly contested mining tax - under a clause that promises companies would have to pay only for greenhouse gas emissions above ''business-as-usual'' levels.

The analysis was based on the emissions figures reported to the federal government under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting system. It assumes penalties would be levied at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted.

It found about 220 companies met the criteria for penalties under the direct action scheme by increasing their emissions in 2011-12.

Climate Change Minister Mark Butler said it showed the direct action policy was a ''secret new carbon tax'', but opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt rejected the analysis outright and insisted the direct action plan would not raise any revenue.

The analysis found International Power would have faced a $14.9 million bill under direct action, Queensland power generator Stanwell would have been penalised $10.4 million and Woodside Petroleum $8.9 million.

Other major polluters exposed under direct action would include Alcoa ($8.7 million), Rio Tinto ($8.4 million), AGL ($8.2 million) and BHP Billiton ($7.2 million).

Based on the latest budget estimates, the total cost to big polluters is higher than that raised by the mining tax 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.''

Mr Hunt said the analysis was ''wrong, fabricated and false''.

Asked to expand on how the figures were wrong, Mr Hunt said: ''The reason is that we have booked no revenue from direct action and therefore those figures are completely wrong.

''We are budgeting zero revenue - repeat zero revenue - from direct action. The ALP is currently raking in $9 billion from the carbon tax and this is set to rise by 50 per cent by 2019, according to the [pre-election economic and fiscal outlook].''

Iain MacGill, a director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at the University of NSW, said the data released by the government was a ''useful analysis''.

''As far as we know 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.

38 comments

  • The worst enemy that will confront the Libs in their direct action plan is a FIERCE FIRE.that will just burn up all the saplings and biomass. leaving us with more CO2 ( What is CO2 anybody?????)

    Commenter
    Blokey
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    August 27, 2013, 10:08AM
    • So Direct Action is not just a stupid idea......it's a GREAT BIG TAX.

      Commenter
      Bazza
      Date and time
      August 27, 2013, 12:18PM
    • CO2 is an invisible gas so is it really there? How do you know it is there? Do you really care if it is there?. Like the GFC if you couldn't see it physically was it really there?

      Commenter
      Pieron
      Date and time
      August 27, 2013, 1:42PM
  • Well Tony Abbott doesn't believe in Climate change. Any thing he claims he is doing to combat climate change is a lie. The truth is we need to act on climate change in a responsible and sustainable way. While the Coalition is busy arguing about climate change and if its real the planet is getting worse. And we cant point fingers at other countries and say they are not doing any thing till we get our act together. Or else we all will sit and wait for the other to act. In saying that China is already moving to an ETS. So time we get cracking.

    Commenter
    Dy4me
    Location
    Syd
    Date and time
    August 27, 2013, 10:10AM
    • The children in the alp really need to grow up. Only the rusted on and the foolish believe them. Sadly there are many many foolish people but thankfully not enough to save this incompetent ship of fools.

      Commenter
      Denny
      Date and time
      August 27, 2013, 10:11AM
      • Aren't the populace lucky to have grown-ups like Denny to look after the future?

        Commenter
        Laura Norder
        Date and time
        August 27, 2013, 10:24AM
      • Denny, The ALP may have a credibility problem but with the coalition refusing to release costings and pushing ideas like a boat buy back and letting casinos do gambling counseling they can't make any claims for credibility except from their own rusted ons such as yourself. Spare us the drivel about the ALP not releasing their costings until the last minute. So what ! If the coalition don't have comprehensive, credible and costed policies ready to go after six years in opposition then are they any better ? I'll accept the argument that we need better than what we've had for the last 6 years but the idea that Abbott and co are a serious alternative is ludicrous. If they get in it will be a victory for spin over substance.

        Commenter
        davros
        Date and time
        August 27, 2013, 11:20AM
      • Denny, you should be more worried about what Abbott's PPL levy will do to your substantial shareholdings, with the franked component of dividends being removed to the tune of $1.6 billion. Or weren't you aware that that's where a large chunk of the funding for the Mosman Mothers Fund is going to come from?

        Maybe you're happy that's what should happen to self funded retirees, and other investors?

        Commenter
        realist
        Date and time
        August 27, 2013, 12:29PM
      • "spin over substance"? Very accurate description of Dudd & Co. The proverbial drover's dog would be a better choice than the current lot of liars that have been running the country down for the last 6 years. It's another cycle: labor liars creating mountains of debt and then someone has to come in and get the house in order again.
        Labor Liars Last.

        Commenter
        The Other Guy
        Location
        Geelong
        Date and time
        August 27, 2013, 12:50PM
      • Davros - you prove the point of ALP hypocricy well. Who cares what garbage labor throw up, just focus on the opposition. Maybe if thd clowns focused on running the countrg over the last 6 years instead of Abbott they might have done a better job. But the green eyed progressives cannot take their eyes off Abbott. It is charscteristic of the left today. Like children they cannot bear to think that anyone has more then them. Forget that somebody worked hard and earned their life, the left believe in wealth distribution so they get the same without working. This is labor eutopia.

        Commenter
        Denny
        Date and time
        August 27, 2013, 1:11PM

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