Ai Group calls for carbon tax to be replaced with international ETS

The Australian Industry Group has called for the carbon tax to be dropped and replaced with an international trading scheme, though this compromise hasn’t won support from the government or opposition.

Innes Willox, the CEO of the Ai Group, gave a number of interviews yesterday calling for the removal of the current fixed price on carbon emissions of $23 per tonne. The tax is scheduled to increase by 2.5 per cent on July 1 before moving to a floating price in 2015.

"Full emissions trading without the carbon tax element would slash the uncompetitive burden that has been imposed on Australian industry and the Australian community and which is dampening jobs growth,” said Willox in a statement. He said that the Coalition’s alternative policy, direct action, was still lacking in detail, though would discuss it in future.

Willox said linking to international carbon markets was in line with the stated emission reduction goals of both sides of politics, and a compromise with considering.

“We believe this gives both major parties about 80 per cent of what they want and does help us move towards reaching that emissions reduction target that both have committed to,” he told the ABC’s AM.

The opposition claimed the proposal as a rejection of the carbon tax, though stopped short of supporting it.
“Our goal is very clear,” the opposition’s Greg Hunt told PM last night.

“We are not going to be imposing, as the AIG note, a massive tax on Australian firms and whether it's the full carbon tax or a reduced version, we won't be supporting either form of that.

“We want to reduce the cost of manufacturing, reduce the cost of business and to stand up for Australian jobs which the Prime Minister seems to have discovered as a theme recently. But if she wants to stand up for Australian jobs, listen to the AIG and abolish the carbon tax.”