Chris Bowen says government to scrap fixed carbon price
Treasurer Chris Bowen says government to scrap fixed carbon price
July 14, 2013 - 12:08PM
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd: moving to a floating price on carbon on July 1 next year Photo: ABC
Tony Abbott slams Kevin Rudd's carbon move
Treasurer Chris Bowen has confirmed the federal government would stick to its timetable for the return to a balanced budget despite bringing forward changes to the carbon price worth billions of dollars.
Mr Bowen said on Sunday the government had agreed to scrap the fixed carbon price and move to a floating price on carbon on July 1 next year - one year earlier than scheduled.
Greens leader Senator Christine Milne addresses the National Press Club of Australia.
Greens leader Christine Milne: accused Mr Rudd of being a ‘‘fake on climate’’ Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
"I think families will see a big benefit in what we are bringing forward," Mr Bowen said.
Mr Bowen would not provide an exact figure on the cost of the decision but confirmed it would be in the order of several billion dollars.
He said other savings would have to be found in order for Labor to deliver a balanced budget in 2015/16.
Mr Bowen told Channel Ten there would be no change in the household assistance package designed to help consumers with any price changes brought about by the scheme.
The decision marks another step away from policies instituted by former prime minister Julia Gillard since Kevin Rudd returned to the leadership less than one month ago.
Mr Rudd flagged his concern with the fixed price phase as soon as he was returned to the prime ministership late last month. He has also suggested there will be changes in immigration policy.
The change would see the current fixed $24.15 per tonne carbon price dumped in favour of a floating price of between $6 and $10 per tonne.
The government will be hoping the change will result in a drop in electricity prices which would allow it to say it was helping people with the costs of living.
In a statement the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott repeated his promise to repeal the carbon price if he is elected to government later this year.
"Mr Rudd can change the name but whether it is fixed or floating it is still a carbon tax," Mr Abbott said.
Greens leader Christine Milne accused Mr Rudd of being a "fake on climate" after the federal government confirmed it would dump the controversial fixed price on carbon.
Senator Milne said the decision was "cowardly" and failed to realise that "we are living in a climate emergency".
"It's all about politics not policy," Senator Milne told ABC television on Sunday morning.
"Kevin Rudd is a fake on climate."
The issue of the carbon price dogged the prime ministership of Julia Gillard who was subjected to a relentless opposition campaign accusing her of breaking her 2010 election campaign promise not to introduce a carbon tax.
The carbon price was negotiated by Ms Gillard with the Greens and independents after the election as part of Labor's deal to form minority government.