Gillard vows to prevail on carbon tax

As Opposition runs a "fear campaign", PM declares she will fight to introduce a carbon tax next year

By Brad Gardner | February 25, 2011

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has vowed to prevail in her attempt to price carbon, as the Opposition stands accused of running a "fear campaign" on climate change.

During a heated debate in Parliament yesterday, Gillard told Opposition leader Tony Abbott she was determined to follow through on her proposal to price carbon from July 1 next year.

Abbott accused Gillard of betraying the public because she went to the last election saying it would not be introduced under her government.

"I say this to the leader of the Opposition: we will have this debate and we will win it every day. We will contest every proposition and we will correct every attempt to mislead. We will have this debate and we will win it," Gillard says.

Although a price has not been announced, the Coalition claims it will lead to a $300 increase in electricity prices and a 6.5 cent per litre rise in fuel.

"This is an attempt to mislead and to engage in a fear campaign," Gillard says.

"Every Australian should recognise the Opposition for what it is: an Opposition with no policies or plans to make a real difference to climate change."

Under the proposal developed by a committee involving the Government, Greens and independents, a carbon tax will run for three to five years from July 2012.

It will then be replaced with an emissions trading scheme, but agriculture will be excluded.

Gillard says revenue will be used to fund climate change programs and help households and businesses adjust.

She accused Nationals leader Warren Truss of "making up figures" and misleading the public for claiming fuel prices will rise by 6.5 cents a litre.

Earlier this week Truss claimed a carbon price of $10 per tonne would lead to a 2.5 cent per litre increase in fuel prices. He wants fuel exempt from a carbon tax.

The Greens last year wrote to Gillard and recommended a $23 tax per tonne. It wanted the rate to increase by 4 percent plus CPI each year until a global emissions trading scheme was established.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) says a carbon tax must not undermine the manufacturing industry’s competitiveness.

"Importantly, Australian exports must not become less competitive," AFGC CEO Kate Carnell says.

"Any carbon pricing system should also include support to help industry adapt to low-emissions technologies."

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