SHADOW Minister for Climate Change Greg Hunt says Great Lakes Council is “dead against” the carbon tax and would benefit from a Coalition promise to immediately repeal the policy.
He said this following discussions with mayor Jan McWilliams at council chambers on Monday.
“What we can guarantee is that from day one we will repeal the carbon tax,” Mr Hunt said.
“I’ve visited local councils all over Australia and Great Lakes Council is at the forefront. It is a very aware, organised and responsible council facing additional costs, as a result of the carbon tax, in excess of $700,000. To pay these costs council will have to cut back on other services.”
Member for Paterson Bob Baldwin was also present at the meeting to discuss the carbon tax, which came into effect on July 1, and the affect it will have on council operations.
“The carbon tax will increase cost of living pressures on families, cost jobs and send much needed investment overseas,” Mr Baldwin said.
It was, at times, a heated meeting with councillor Linda Gill, in apparent refutation to Mr Hunt’s claim that council was against the carbon tax, accusing Mr Hunt and the Coalition of downplaying the impact of climate change before storming out with the comment: “May I remind you there’ll be no jobs on a dead planet.”
Mr Hunt said he was unfazed by Cr Gill’s comments welcoming debate on the policy.
Mr Baldwin was more critical of Cr Gill.
“Councillor Gill obviously has a lot of passion but she seems to have forgotten that both the government and the Coalition have the same reduction target of five per cent.
“I think the outrage shown was more about getting her face in the paper with an (local government) election coming up.”
Mayor Jan McWilliams was happy with the meeting and though she did not go as far as Mr Hunt in saying council was “dead against” the carbon tax, she said council could benefit from a policy to repeal the tax.
“In NSW, councils are rate-pegged, which means we can’t increase rates to cover all our costs when State and Federal Governments impose these taxes. The federal government is providing subsidies to individuals to counter the effects of the carbon tax, but nothing has been offered to councils.”
Mayor McWilliams cited waste management as a particular area of concern.
“Unless council can make more dramatic improvements to diverting more waste from its main Tuncurry Landfill we will be paying upwards of $500,000 this year in Carbon Tax. We’ve won several awards in that area and we already have between 40 and 50 per cent of waste that doesn’t go to landfill.”
Families will be compensated: Thistlethwaite
DUTY Senator for Paterson Matt Thistlethwaite has refuted claims by Shadow Minister for Climate Change Greg Hunt and Member for Paterson Bob Baldwin saying that the government’s policy will compensate families for cost increases as a result of the carbon tax.
“The Government has always said that under the carbon price, there will be a modest cost impact to households, on average less than a cent in every dollar spent. Almost six million households will receive assistance that covers all of their expected average price impact. Over four million households will receive assistance that exceeds their expected average price impact. This assistance will be permanent and automatically indexed for any future increases in the cost of living,” Senator Thistlethwaite said.
“The Government is delivering major tax reforms for working families through a tripling of the tax free threshold. We are also increasing family payments and pensions, benefits and allowances.”
Senator Thistlethwaite also said that the Coalition’s policy would remove these benefits from families.
“Tony Abbott and Bob Baldwin have confirmed they will rip this assistance away from hardworking Australians. They have promised to slash payments to more than 10,000 families, more than 31,200 pensioners and take away tax cuts from more than 39,000 hard working people in Paterson.”