Labor’s promise that more than 50 per cent of carbon tax revenue will go to households has been exposed as yet another carbon tax hoax, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham said today.
It is now clear Labor is counting fuel tax offsets in its commitment to spend more than half of carbon tax revenue on household assistance, despite not previously doing so under the Government’s shelved Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).[1]
Having earlier committed to spend all carbon tax revenue on assisting households, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet last month broke this promise by half.
“…we have indicated that every dollar raised from the payment of a carbon price by those large polluters will be used to help households with the price impacts.”
Greg Combet, ABC Radio National, 8 March 2011
“More than 50 per cent of the carbon price revenue will be used to assist households.”
Greg Combet, National Press Club, 13 April 2011
Under questioning from Senator Birmingham in Senate Budget Estimates this morning, the head of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency revealed he understood the Government’s promise of 50 per cent assistance to include any fuel tax offsets.
“I was at the National Press Club. I thought it was reasonably clear that fuel was in the mix in terms of household assistance… it was clear to me that that was all forms of assistance for households which could include, if the Government chose to use a fuel tax offset path, fuel tax offsets.”
Blair Comley, Secretary, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Senate Budget Estimates, 23 May 2011
“The Minister made no such clarification in the speech where he made the 50 per cent promise,” Senator Birmingham said.
“First it was 100 per cent, then it was more than 50 per cent, now it’s probably only more than 50 per cent if you include fuel tax offsets,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Australians will be surprised to learn that, under Labor’s latest definition of household compensation, the extent to which petrol prices don’t rise will be counted as compensation to help households pay for higher electricity, grocery and other prices.
“This is clever accounting shrouded in smoke and mirrors at its best.”

[1] Table 3.2: Projected Budget impact of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, page 37, Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) 2009-10