The Liberal scheme that will increase household bills AND carbon emissions
Julia Gillard is known for a couple of things. Her iconic misogyny speech, being the first woman PM in Australia, and her controversial carbon tax. Her proposed carbon tax scheme was introduced in 2012, and had big polluters paying Aussie taxpayers. Its introduction caused major waves throughout the nation, with citizens strongly opposing a potential 10% increase to household electricity prices.
But would you believe that in 2021, a conservative politician has introduced a bill that will mean at least a 14% increase to the same bills? But this time, there's no outrage...
MP Angus Taylor, Liberal Party member and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction (which is really ironic based on what you're about to read) has proposed a 'CoalKeeper' tax that will result in higher household electricity bills and won't even reduce emissions.
Julia Gillard's carbon tax was estimated to have increased household electricity bills by 10% and businesses' by 15%, and led to a 3-5% reduction in annual carbon emissions in the first two years. The tax was abolished when Tony Abbott was elected in 2013, in fact, Abbott ran his campaign on the promise of getting rid of it.
Here we are a few years and two Prime Ministers later, and a Liberal Minister has introduced a scheme that is creating a more significant economical impact on households and doesn't even lower carbon emissions. We already knew the Coalition doesn't care much for climate action, but what happened to Libs being 'good for the economy'?
The proposed scheme would mean that coal- and gas-fired plants would continue to operate even if the electricity they generate goes unused. In very simplistic terms, this means effectively useless mines will be polluting for literally no reason at all.
And what will happen to the extra $$ Aussies pay on their electricity bills? So glad you asked!
The extra 14% will help fund fossil fuel generators that are ready to be retired (non-renewable energy plants only have a certain life-span and shutting them down is part of the model) will continue to operate. To use an apt metaphor that's not completely hypothetical, our tax payer dollars will be burned into the atmosphere.
Crikey reported that the benefactors of CoalKeeper will be the fossil fuel donors of the Liberal and National Parties, and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis have estimated that the scheme would cost taxpayers between $2.9 and $6.9 billion, and that electrical bills would go up by $182 and $430 per year.