The claim that the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan, firstly, is an alternative to taxpayers paying is absurd. The analysis I undertook and the material I referenced therein suggest that the taxpayer is directly forking out for the Direct Action Plan, should the Coalition come into power and implement it.
The Direct Action Plan is directly aimed at the taxpayer, through increasing tax to support an inefficient methodology of greenhouse gas emissions reduction or the general public more broadly through a loss of current public services (such as health or education services).
This is contrary to a price on carbon that hurts excessive carbon emissions, rather than everyone equality regardless of their actions (ie. if you want to pay less on carbon, use less or find low carbon alternatives; in other words, behavioural change away from a carbon economy). The carbon price targets carbon use and thus provides market place incentives to decarbonise economic growth in Australia for the 21st century.
But it gets better. On Minister Greg Hunt’s website, he has a page dedicated to knocking the carbon price.
On the 20th of February, he had an article, titled, Carbon Tax Robs Poor To Pay The Rich in which he talks about the ALP providing large sums of money to coal fire generators. Of course, he does not reference this or provide the ALP’s justification, but I can.
In Chapter 5 of the 2012-13 budget, Supporting Energy Markets, this money is claimed to assist with initial impact of the carbon pricing as part of allowing for a smooth transition from carbon based energy supply, to a mixed base and eventually low carbon emission power supply.
We may need to remind Hunt that the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan includes the Emissions Reduction Fund. This is a tax funded initiative (that’s right, we all pay through tax or loss of public services as there are no other funding sources, unlike the price on carbon). The Emissions Reduction Fund funnels taxpayers money to private industry to pay for improvements to industry for private benefits. From the Emissions Reduction Fund section of the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan;
“It is envisaged that the Fund will invest an annual average of around $1.2 billion in direct CO2 emissions reduction activities through to 2020.”
If they implemented the Direct Action Plan before 2015, this alone would funnel off more money into private industry than that Mr Hunt accuses the ALP of in his article. The major difference here from the ALP’s initiative is that it is done in an economic environment without the market based incentives discussed above.
The pot calling the kettle black…?
Further, six days later, Greg Hunt’s very next article, titled, Carbon Tax Hits Virgin Airlines, talks about multimillion dollar payments being made by, you guessed it, the rich!
So who is the victim here? The poor? The rich? Or is he really going down the path of the doomsday theorist and claiming that the whole economy is going to collapse with the ALP’s price on carbon – except for the fossil fuel industry whom the ALP are, apparently, funnelling money to? More than six months on from the introduction of the price on carbon and Australia is still a strong economy.
In truth, even within his own articles, Greg Hunt cannot develop a consistent message. He attacks the ALP, accusing them of exactly what his party’s Direct Action Plan will set out to do. Moreover, he then accuses the ALP of doing to opposite as well. This, from the Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage of a party lead by Tony Abbott whom famously said;
“The argument [behind climate change] is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us. Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.” (12 December 2009)
“I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change.” (27 July 2009)
Among other gems. We have valid reason for concern regarding the Coalition’s seriousness and capacity to provide meaningful leadership on climate change mitigation.