Trade union welcomes carbon tax bill

Yesterday’s decision by the House of Representatives to pass the price on pollution package will provide certainty for Australian workers and business, according to the ACTU.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said after years of debate and negotiations, Australia is now on the path towards a low-carbon economy.

“Once the political heat of the moment has passed, Australians will look back on today as a nation-building decision,” Kearney said.

“This is nation-building because putting a price on pollution will not only help the environment, but it will transform our economy.

“Passage of the Bills in the House of Representatives today will provide certainty to investors and it will be a trigger for industries to adopt new, low-polluting technologies, and give Australian companies a chance to compete in the global low-carbon economy.

“This will in turn ensure that jobs will be maintained in existing industries that adapt to the new economic reality, but also that new job opportunities can be unlocked.

“The passage of the Bills also provides certainty for Australian workers and their families by allowing them to begin planning for the largest economic adjustment for a generation.”

According to Kearney, the carbon price package had been negotiated with close involvement by unions to ensure that the interests of workers and their families were always first and foremost.

Unions successfully pushed for industry assistance to trade-exposed emissions-intensive industries, and coal mining.

Unions also insisted that a sizeable proportion of the revenue generated from a price on pollution was allocated to making existing industry more energy-efficient, and developing new industries.