Greens want Gillard to back carbon tax

Federal Government urged to introduce carbon tax, as Greens say trucking industry will need "restructuring"

Greens want Gillard to back carbon tax
Greens want Gillard to back carbon tax
By Brad Gardner | June 29, 2010

The Federal Government is being urged to introduce a carbon tax next year until an emissions trading scheme can be implemented.

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown has written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard saying the Greens will support a $23 tax per tonne on carbon from July 1 next year.

The rate will increase by four percent plus CPI each year until a global scheme for reducing emissions is negotiated.

Brown wants the Government to discuss with the Greens how industry will be treated under a carbon tax and emissions trading scheme.

"A number of other matters would need to be worked through towards a final agreement being struck, including the level of compensation provided to industry and the treatment of petrol under the scheme," he writes.

While saying the Greens want transport included in a carbon tax plan, a spokesman for the Greens says it is "open-minded" and willing to negotiate.

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) advocated by the Federal Government was shelved earlier this year due to a failure to get it passed.

Under the CPRS, fuel retailers will be responsible for buying permits to pollute and then passing the costs of the permits down the chain in the form of higher fuel prices.

The Government decided to give the trucking industry a one-year reprieve by cutting one cent from the fuel excise for every one cent rise in the price of fuel due to emissions trading.

A spokesman for the Greens says it is "nonsensical" to include fuel in emissions trading but then compensate the industry.

"It is just nonsense to put transport in with one hand and then offset it through the fuel tax system," the spokesman says.

He says the Greens want the revenue from a carbon tax to fund public transport and alternative fuels to reduce reliance on cars and fossil fuels.

The party has long supported shifting freight from road to rail and advocates federal money being prioritised to rail projects.

The spokesman says the road freight sector will need "restructuring" if more freight is moved to rail.

"That’s a reality of dealing with climate change," he says.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) supported the CPRS because trucking operators would not need to buy permits or maintain records under emissions trading.

The ATA declined to comment when asked for a response to the Greens' carbon tax proposal.

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