In Australia, the government is reintroducing moves to repeal the country’s carbon tax, continue to cut red tape, back coal seam gas development and work to stem rising wage bills on big energy projects, the country’s energy minister said Tuesday.

In a speech in Perth this week, Ian Macfarlane, Australia’s Industry minister, told attendees:  “The government remains committed to our election platform to repeal the carbon tax despite the Senate voting against it recently.  We will reintroduce the repeal bills to Parliament and our intention is to pass them as soon as possible.

“The bills are drafted on the basis that the carbon tax will no longer apply from July 1, 2014, even if the bills are passed after that date,” he told delegates at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s annual conference.

In South Africa industry was relieved when, in Feb 2014, treasury decided to delay the implementation of the proposed carbon tax to 2016.  After extensive public consultation on the proposed tax over the course of 2013, a number of adjustments to the proposal would also be made, the treasury said in its 2014 Budget Review.

Experts welcomed the move as the delay will allow government to link the tax mechanism to climate change mitigation efforts, addressing criticisms that it would be little more than a revenue generating tool. They noted however that specific benchmarks still had to be established for local economic sectors, before emission reductions targets could be determined.

According to the Australian Department of Environment, efforts to repeal the carbon tax are designed to:

  • Reduce the cost of living – modelling by the Australian Treasury suggests that removing the carbon tax in 2014-15 will leave average costs of living across all households around $550 lower than they would otherwise be in 2014-15.
  • Lower retail electricity by around 9 per cent and retail gas prices by around 7 per cent than they would otherwise be in 2014-15 with a $25.40 carbon tax.
  • Boost Australia’s economic growth, increase jobs and enhance Australia’s international competitiveness by removing an unnecessary tax, which hurts businesses and families.
  • Reduce annual ongoing compliance costs for around 370 liable entities by almost $90 million per annum.

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