Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says a coalition government would compensate businesses affected by the abolition of the carbon tax on a case-by-case basis.
Many Australian businesses involved in clean energy and other sectors are benefiting from the price on carbon dioxide emissions, which will move to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.
However, Mr Hockey told reporters in Launceston on Monday the cost of the carbon tax on households and business was ‘‘far greater than any money that is coming out of Canberra to compensate individual businesses’’.
He said the best way to improve the bottom line of all businesses was to get rid of the carbon tax.
Asked what a coalition government would do to compensate businesses that are benefiting from the tax, Mr Hockey said: ‘‘We will consider it on a case-by-case basis and we have allocated funds under our Direct Action plan to deal with initiatives that are under way.’’
The coalition has pledged to abolish the carbon tax as its first priority in government and permanently shut down the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation fund.
Instead, its Emissions Reduction Fund would be given $3 billion for clean energy projects.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said Mr Hockey’s comment was another reason why the coalition would not go ahead with a repeal of the carbon price.
‘‘Mr Hockey has admitted that repeal would trigger compensation claims from companies which have made investment and business decisions based on a price on carbon,’’ Mr Combet told AAP on Monday.
The coalition was struggling to show how its policy would cut emissions by five per cent by 2020.
'‘‘Now Mr Hockey has revealed that he would raid Direct Action to compensate businesses, it is clear that a coalition government would do nothing to invest in clean and renewable energy or to cut carbon pollution,’’ Mr Combet said.