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Tag Archives: carbon

Law & Order, Mars and Why Tony Abbott is Right To Put Science Under The Industry Portfolio.

“I have a great idea for reducing the crime rate!”
“What is it?”
“Well, when someone is caught breaking the law, rather than wasting a lot of money on a trial and jailing them – which is also very expensive – we just give them a large amount of money and tell them not do it again!”
“But wouldn’t that lead to people breaking the law and handing themselves in, just to get the money?”
“Oh the money wouldn’t go to everyone. Just the big criminals.”
“All right, once they’ve got the money what’s the penalty if they break the law again?”
“None.”
“None?”
“Yep, we’re more into carrots than sticks.”
“That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard!”
“Ok, well what about my idea for reducing our carbon emissions?”
“You mean the one where you pay the biggest polluters to reduce their emissions and if they don’t you just say that’s ok?”
“Yep.”
“Oh, that’s fine. That sounds like an excellent idea.”
Mm, we don’t seem to be hearing a lot about Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan. You know, the one that’s supposed to replace the Carbon Tax. A Google search reveals several mentions but the only recent one is in an editorial from that foreign owned newspaper, “The Australian” which begins with the rather contradictory concept.
“AUSTRALIA’s ill-fated carbon tax has proved to be a more successful tool of political rather than carbon abatement, felling spectacularly the party leaderships of Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd, and Julia Gillard. Well intentioned in theory, it was in practice a hopelessly premature step for a country that emits around 1.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide and whose competitiveness had long rested on cheap energy. The tax boosted power prices for households and business without altering the carbon intensity of their energy supply. It has hastened the deindustrialisation of Australia’s economy, including the collapse of the aluminium and car industries, without a scintilla of verifiable impact on global carbon emissions, let alone the climate.”
I can’t see how the deindustrialisation of Australia’s economy hasn’t led to some fall in our emissions. And considering we were told by other members of Murdoch Misinformation Media about pensioners sitting in the dark with the heater off because they couldn’t afford electricity any more, it seems hard to believe that bigger users hadn’t found ways to improve their energy efficiency. But it’s good to know that our competitiveness rests on cheap energy and not cheap wages, as has been suggested by the IPA. (Or rather cheap minimum wages. I haven’t heard anyone from the IPA suggesting that Tim Wilson’s $300,000 is an excessive amount. Or even using it as example of a waste of taxpayers’ money.)
Still when the paper talks about “verifiable”, it’s important to remember that they’re not using that in a scientific way, because a debate like this is too important to be left to scientists. We need input from every day people. Like the Senator from Kentucky (Brandon Smith) that was suggesting that climate change wasn’t man-made because there are no coal mines on Mars, and:
“I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change. But I will just simply point out that I think that in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that.”
Well, a scientist might, but we know that they’re just a minority group and the silent majority are sick and tired of pandering to minority groups. So “verifiable” in this sense has nothing to do with science. It simply means that something can be found in one of their newspapers about a reduction in Australia’s emissions. And, of course, it can’t .
As for what the editorial said about Direct Action:
“And Environment Minister Greg Hunt has the hazardous task of overseeing its untried replacement, an unloved $2.5 billion direct action fund cobbled together to burnish the Coalition’s climate credentials in early 2010. Ensuring this money leads to genuine carbon abatement rather than becoming yet another form of industry assistance — subsidising green projects that would have proceeded anyway — will be challenging.”
So, even the usual cheerleaders of the Abbott Government are calling direct action “unloved”. Poor thing. We should remember it on Valentine’s Day and send it a card and some flowers.
And I would, except I don’t know where to send them because it doesn’t exist yet.
Ah well, maybe by 14th February!

Axing the taxes equates to self harm

I am trying to understand why we are repealing the carbon and mining taxes.

“The carbon tax is a $7.6 billion dollar hit on the economy. As you (the Minerals Council of Australia) noted in your submission to the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, the burden on the minerals sector alone is estimated to be $2.6 billion by 30 June 2014.

There is no reason for the repeal to be delayed – the carbon tax is hurting Australian families and businesses and from 1 July is estimated to cost them $21 million per day.”

This is the spin from Greg Hunt. They just love to say this is costing “a big scary number”. When he says the carbon tax is a hit on the economy, he means it is a hit on polluters. They are the ones who pay the carbon tax. The fact that they passed on any imposte to the consumer is a failing in the legislation if you ask me.

And excuse me if I don’t think $2.6 billion very relevant in comparison to the superprofits that mining companies are making digging up OUR resources.

Why we are protecting profitable mining companies at the expense of families and small business is beyond me and seems contrary to the Coalition rhetoric.

The tax free threshold was set to increase to $19,400. For low income earners, that would save $228 per year and it would mean those who earn between $18,200 and $19,400 would no longer have to fill in a tax return. The repeal of the carbon tax will scrap this.

Low income earners will also lose the low income superannuation contribution scheme, which pays $500 to low-income individuals to boost inadequate retirement savings.

A family with three children, one at primary school and two in high school, and where both adults earn just above the minimum wage of $37,000, would lose $2050 from the abolition of the Schoolkids Bonus, according to the Australian Institute.

It is questionable as to whether this was even attached to the mining tax as it was actually introduced to replace a previous payment that was being underutilised – the Education Tax Refund.

The government will also delay (scrap?) the move of the Superannuation Guarantee to 12%. This will affect the retirement savings of all employees which, with the proposed increase in the retirement age to 70, and the lowering of indexation to pensions, seems a counterproductive move.

They are also scrapping the Income Support Bonus, which includes payments to the children of veterans and is a lump-sum supplementary payment made twice a year to people on certain income support payments.

They are hurting small business by unwinding the instant asset write-off. This policy allowed small businesses to write off depreciating assets costing less than $6,500, and the first $5,000 was offset against the mining tax.

They are also discontinuing the company loss carry-back, a benefit for small businesses, and dismantling the accelerated depreciation for motor vehicles.

And of course, we have to attack renewable energy. Existing income tax law provides an immediate tax deduction for expenditure incurred when exploring or prospecting for minerals, petroleum or quarry minerals. In 2012 this was extended to geothermal exploration. They are cutting the deduction for geothermal but not for the hydrocarbons.

Add to all these cutbacks the cost of Direct Action should it pass the Senate. I was going to work out the individual cost but Hockey’s budget says one thing in the text and another in the figures as pointed out in Business Spectator.

“The budget text states that the government will provide an “initial” $2.55 billion to establish the Emissions Reduction Fund, which is consistent with what the Coalition had promised prior to the election over the first four years of the scheme.

Yet the table which accompanies this text listing the hard dollars provides a contradictory and highly confusing story. It outlines a total funding allocation over the next four years of just under $1.15 billion.”

So who can tell? I think we all are coming to realise this will never happen at any meaningful level.

As for the mining tax, that is also very confusing with the Coalition arguing so many different views depending on what we are talking about.

They say the mining tax has hurt investment while boasting “As Minister for the Environment, I have approved more than $500 billion worth of new projects in the mining and resources sector.”

They say the mining tax has cost jobs but everyone agrees that we are moving from an investment phase to a less labour-intensive production phase. This shift is causing a loss of jobs but it would see an increase in revenue.

So what do we do? Accept the inevitable job losses and forego between $3.4 billion (budget) and $4.4 billion (PEFO) projected revenue over the forward estimates. We also increase the 457 visa intake and decrease the oversight of it so mining companies can have a fluid malleable workforce.

I cannot understand why anyone other than high polluting miners and their high falutin’ sidekicks would think that axing these two taxes is in anyway good for the country.