Australian taxpayers are wearing a double hit from the carbon tax thanks to the high spending bureaucracy administering it, according to Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham.
It follows revelations of Departmental staff and office arrangements in answers* to questions asked by Senator Birmingham through Senate Estimates.
“Not only will Australians will be hit by the carbon tax through electricity and other price rises, but as taxpayers they’ll also foot a multi-billion dollar bill for the bureaucracy behind Labor’s carbon tax,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Adding insult to financial injury, this is a bureaucracy that appears keen to spend big, whether on ever more staff, overseas travel or lavish new accommodation.
“The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) will move into the new mixed use “Japanese-inspired” Nishi building in the Canberra suburb of Acton late this year, with the lease costing taxpayers more than $6 million for the first year alone.
“At $6,415,625 for approximately 12,250 square metres, the $523 per square metre is nearly 30 per cent more expensive than the $410 per square metre going rate for A-Grade non-CBD Canberra office space.
“Claims such spending is justified to set an example of environmental efficiency show how out of touch Labor is. Most Australian families and businesses can’t afford to spend millions on purpose built eco-luxury and must make do with more practical energy saving measures.
“At the same time, numbers of DCCEE bureaucrats employed in areas such as corporate support has increased significantly (from 111 in June 2010 to 190 in June 2011, and 230 by September 2011) and a new regulatory section has increased to 104 staff.
“This is also a department that sent 97 bureaucrats overseas in the 2010-11 financial year at a cost of more than $3 million.
And this is all just the Department itself.
“We also know taxpayers will fund the $256 million Clean Energy Regulator, with around 330 staff, as well as the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the $25 million Climate Change Authority.
“Australians looking for some ‘bang for their buck’ will rightly be puzzled that even with all this spending our actual emissions will still increase under Labor’s carbon tax.”
* see answers 1, 192 and 198 available at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/estimates/supp_1112/ccee/corporate.pdf