With the carbon tax implemented from July 1st 2012, leading economist Professor Harry Clarke says the policy will work but has ‘some wrinkles’.
Professor Clarke believes that while the carbon tax has its faults, it is a promising start and has Australia leading by example to much of the global community.
‘The impact on almost all Australians will be quite marginal, in the short run people will face higher electricity prices,’ says Professor Clarke. ‘Sectors of the economy are making a lot of noise, but it is out of self-interest, I don’t think the concerns are as substantial as some sections of the industry are suggesting.’
‘This new tax is a slap on the wrist, it’s trying to reduce carbon emissions, and it’s also trying to get industry to think about alternative ways of producing energy,’ says Professor Clarke.
Professor Clarke has previously received nationwide recognition for his research into tax reform and plain-packaging legislation for the tobacco industry.
Despite being cautiously optimistic, Professor Clarke believes that the government is offering too many exemptions to companies that could otherwise pass the cost on to consumers.
‘I think assistance should only be given to the traded goods sector, and there the basis for assistance is that this sector is competing with industries overseas that are not subject to a carbon tax. It seems to me there’s no case for giving local power stations assistance because they can pass on prices for increased electricity to consumers’
‘A tax on carbon will provide incentives for producers to think about different technologies and consumers to be a bit more careful about their emissions,’ says Professor Clarke.
La Trobe University was recently listed as one of the nation's top 500 carbon polluters, due to producing its own energy from natural gas with a co-generation plant. This is a cleaner energy source than other fossil fuels, and is twice as efficient as the brown coal generators that supply the rest of Victoria.
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CONTACT: Harry Clarke Phone: +61 03 9479 1732 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org