The Gillard Government’s Leader in the Senate has today refused to confirm its commitment to budget neutrality for its planned carbon tax, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham said today.
“The Government’s shelved ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ (CPRS) was forecast to run at an annual deficit of up to $1.6 billion,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“On top of this existing deficit, the Government is promising more household compensation under its new carbon tax than was promised under the CPRS.”
The Government has previously stated the impact of the carbon tax would be budget neutral:
“The overall package of a carbon price mechanism and associated assistance measures should be budget-neutral.”
‘Principles for assessing carbon pricing mechanisms’, Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (chaired by Prime Minister Gillard), 21 December 2010
However, in response to direct questions from Senator Birmingham in Senate question time today, Senate Government Leader Chris Evans refused to guarantee that a budget-neutral carbon tax would have no negative impact on the budget bottom line.
“Any negative budget impact of a carbon tax has the capacity to significantly erode the Government’s wafer thin surplus forecasts,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Not only is the Government still refusing to release any details of its planned carbon tax, it is now refusing even to detail its impact on the forecast budget surplus on which the Government has staked any remaining credibility.”