Politicians at odds over true cost of carbon tax

THE carbon price and global warming are causing heated arguments around Penrith.

Lindsay Liberal candidate Fiona Scott has accused the federal government of imposing "the world's biggest carbon tax", which would boost the cost of living and destroy jobs.

Lindsay Labor MP David Bradbury said that claim was "complete nonsense".

"The average cost of the carbon price to households will be $9.90 a week, while the average assistance will be $10.10 per week," Mr Bradbury said.

From July 1, Australia's top 500 carbon producers pay $23 a tonne of carbon emitted, with the price rising to $29 in three years.

The revenue raised finances tax cuts and pension increases, meant to compensate for higher consumer prices.

Ms Scott said the tax placed Australia at an economic disadvantage for no gain.

"Under the carbon tax Australia's emissions will increase from 578 million tonnes to 621 million tonnes by 2020," she said.

"It will not help the environment and the cost of the essentials of life will go up and up and up."

Ms Scott said that despite British Columbia, pricing carbon at $C30 (about $30) Canada's federal government has confirmed it would not introduce a carbon tax.

She said the European Union's carbon price was less than $US10 a tonne; that China was only introducing limited pilot carbon-pricing schemes; and that South Korea issued 95 per cent of its carbon permits for free.

"The Coalition has a strong plan for economic growth and the plan starts with scrapping the carbon tax," Ms Scott said.

Mr Bradbury said that overall prices were expected to increase by less than 1 per cent.

"Once you take into account the assistance provided to heavy industries, the carbon price [for such industries] is less than $1.30, not the headline $23 per tonne," he said.

Mr Bradbury also said that Treasury estimated the Coalition's "direct action" policy would cost taxpayers $62 a tonne.

"Mr Abbott has already confirmed that he will claw back the increases to the pension, family payments and tax cuts, if he is elected," he said.

He said the government wanted to take Australia into an eventual carbon-free future and that the longer action on climate change was delayed, the more difficult this would become.

The Star contacted the Climate Commission for information on international carbon pricing, but got no response before publication.

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