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Carbon tax comes into effect amid public opposition

2nd Jul 2012

So it's finally here - the long-awaited carbon tax came into force yesterday (July 1) and it seems that many of you are less than impressed.

Although the tax has been designed to penalise the country's biggest greenhouse gas emitters, there is much concern that it will also impact everyday Australians and their household bills.

The Gillard government described the move as a "major milestone in its plan for Australia's clean energy future" and anticipates that 159 million tonnes of carbon pollution will be cut every year.

At face value it seems that the carbon tax could be the answer to all our environmental prayers - so what's the problem?

The country's biggest polluters will have to pass on these price rises to somebody and - you guessed it - it's likely that the everyday consumer will take the fall.

Although the government has assured us that the increase will be minimal, there is still plenty of pessimism out there.

A poll from the Lowy Institute found that 63 per cent of Australians are opposed to the tax, 45 per cent of whom voiced a strong opposition.

A third of those questioned said they were in support of the measures, although 52 per cent were worried it would result in job losses.

Lowy Institute executive director Michael Wesley revealed that people's concern for climate change issues is slipping - in 2005-06, it ranked as the number one foreign policy priority.

By 2010-11 it had fallen to ninth place in the list of the top 12 priorities, a sentiment that is now being echoed

Michael continued: "Australians supported action on climate change, and were prepared to pay for it, when they thought it was a pressing problem.

"But as they've come to see it as less of a problem, they have steadily turned against action on climate change."

Since this poll was carried out nearly a month ago (June 5), opinion hasn't improved much further.

The latest Fairfax/Nielsen poll shows that since the carbon tax came into force, 62 per cent of people are against it, while 51 per cent believe they will be worse off as a result.

As for the actual effect the carbon tax will have on our everyday lives - we'll just have to wait and see!

However, no carbon emissions mean no carbon tax, so turning to a green electricity tariff could be just what you need to protect yourself against the rises.

Posted by Mike Peacock


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