The Queensland Government is considering a carbon tax to help offset the emissions of the country’s coal-burning power plants, the state’s Opposition says.
Key points:The Premier’s carbon fee would be charged on carbon dioxide emissions, and businesses and households would pay moreThe carbon fee is designed to help lower greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, but businesses and consumers would pay a higher rateThe proposed levy, which would start to take effect in 2020, would be used primarily for projects that generate greenhouse gases like coal and natural gas.
It is a move that would be controversial in some quarters and would not go down well with businesses or some quarters of the community.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was confident of a successful campaign to get the carbon fee introduced in Queensland.
“The first thing that comes to mind is we will go into a period of increased activity, but it is also a period where we will make sure we have a transition plan that ensures we do not damage the environment in the long run,” Ms Palasczuk told ABC Brisbane’s Four Corners program on Wednesday.
“What we need to do is to make sure that we take a long-term approach to the emissions that we are producing.”
The carbon tax would be imposed on carbon emissions of any kind, not just those that come from the production of fossil fuel, but also those generated from renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The carbon levy would be applied at a rate of 1 per cent of emissions for each dollar of value.
“There is an additional $150 million that we have put in to help pay for the carbon levy in the coming budget, but that money is not being spent in the first year, so that means we have spent more than the $150,000 that we would have spent in first year,” Ms Palmer said.
“So we have to make that up over the next year.”
Ms Palaszek said the Government would be looking to increase funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects.
“It is something that will be a priority in our government, but we have been very clear that we will use all of our resources to help reduce the emissions from our coal-powered plants,” she said.
Queensland’s carbon levy has been a controversial idea, with some calling for it to be abolished, others arguing it would be better to set a floor price for carbon emissions.
The state’s Greens leader, Christine Milne, said she would be asking the Premier to reverse the proposed policy.
“We’re going to be asking Premier Palasziuk to reverse her position that this is the best option for the environment,” she told Four Cornys program.
“She can’t change the science that she knows about.
It’s been proven time and time again that a carbon fee works, but she’s got no plan to actually pay for it.”
Ms Milne said the state should consider the carbon tax’s effectiveness.
“If we want to reduce our carbon footprint and we want a sustainable economy, then carbon taxes are not a good way of doing it,” she added.
Ms Palaseszuk said her Government had the support of the State Government, but was open to discussing other options.
“I know we have the support from all quarters of Queensland.
The State Government has said they want to talk to the Premier about it, but I’m open to talking to the Government about other options as well,” she explained.”
In the future we will talk to all the parties.”