Australia's Carbon Price: What does it mean for your household?
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Australia's Carbon Price At Work
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Climate change is a real challenge.
The best scientific evidence shows that human-created carbon pollution is affecting the environment in ways that will damage our way of life.
Unions are taking this challenge head on because life will be worse for working people and our children’s generation if we do not reduce carbon pollution.
Our challenge is to reduce carbon pollution and protect jobs.
Companies will not reduce their carbon emissions unless there is an incentive for them to do so.
Putting a price on pollution will give companies an incentive to reduce their pollution.
The more energy efficient a company can become, the less tax it will pay.
The tax the government is proposing will only apply to the biggest polluters - about 800 companies.
It will take some time for businesses to adjust. That is why the government has said it will provide assistance to these companies.
There is a lot of debate about how much this assistance should be. We are working hard to make sure there is enough assistance to protect jobs.
What about household costs for families?
Some of the costs of carbon pollution will be passed on from the large polluting companies to other companies and their customers.
Again, unions have been lobbying the government to compensate households.
The government has said its compensation plan will cover the costs for low and middle-income households in full.
Compensation for families is important because working people should not have to pay for the costs of major companies who have been polluting for many years for free.
Jobs are the most important issue for our members and for our union.
We need to protect existing jobs. But we also need to realise there will be new job opportunities.
Many of today’s jobs are very different or simply did not exist 30 years ago. This is a fact of life and is not unique to today's challenge of climate change.
As a result of the need to reduce carbon pollution, some jobs will change, and - if the government is smart - new jobs will be created.
That’s why the AMWU is leading the argument that the government must invest some money from the carbon pollution tax into industry policy to protect existing jobs and create jobs in clean technology like hybrid and fuel-efficient cars, clean energy, and more energy-efficient modes of production.
The clean technology sector is already worth $6 trillion.*(see study at end)
We have to make sure Australia wins our share of jobs in this growing global industry.
The worst outcome will be if we do nothing and lose the chance to win these jobs.
The plain truth about ‘extreme’ claims
1. The carbon tax is not a huge new tax
The affects of the global financial crisis and the extremely high Australian dollar are two factors which are making life today tough for manufacturers.
Nonetheless, these are issues we have dealt with before in our history, and which we will deal with again.
Putting a cost of between $20 and $30 a tonne on carbon pales in comparison with the impact of the Australian dollar increase from US65 cents to more than US$1.10 in the past three years.
2. Putting a price on carbon is not an extreme or radical idea
John Howard promised to put a price on carbon at the 2007 election.
Tony Abbott encouraged the Liberal Party to support the emissions trading scheme as recently as April, 2009.
Several States of America, many provinces of China and the entire European Union already have a price on pollution.
Many, like the United Kingdom, have taken much greater action than the proposed price on carbon in Australia.
The big business scare campaign in Australia is about trying to maximise profits and make working people pay for the costs of pollution.
3. The best scientific advice says climate change is real
NASA, the CSIRO, and 97% of climate scientists agree that human-created pollution is changing our climate in harmful ways. Given the potential for disaster, we’re not willing to ignore that advice. We’re not willing to bet that they’re all wrong and a few radio station shock-jocks are right.
Reducing carbon pollution is good for our environment and important for our future. If the government is smart, we can reduce pollution and create new jobs at the same time.
Watch this short video explaining why the AMWU is supporting action on climate change.
*The $6 trillion figure is taken from a 2009 Innovas study for the UK Government (Low Carbon and Environment Goods and Services: An Industry Analysis) The report is in pounds-sterling which has been converted to Australian dollars at the average 2007-2008 exchange rate.
This link is to a PDF of the study.
Other useful links
AMWU - A plan for low emissions industry and technology development in Australia.
Full Report - A Low Emission Industry and Technology Development Fund
The full report with costings for the AMWU's plan to use a price on carbon to deliver a future for Australian manufacturing.
Summary - A Low Emission Industry and Technology Development Fund
A two-page summary outlining the key proposals in the AMWU's plan.