Prime Minister Julia Gillard says taxpayers and pensioners will receive “generous” compensation under her carbon pricing scheme, which is due to start on July 1, 2012, if a deal can be struck with the independents and Greens.
Revenue generated from taxing the nation’s 1000 biggest polluters is expected to go to tax cuts, pension rises, industry assistance and clean-energy projects.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has committed a coalition government to rescinding the carbon pricing legislation if elected.
Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey expanded on the pledge, saying that all compensation would be rescinded.
“We will repeal the carbon tax and there will be no need for compensation, so we will unwind the compensation because you don’t need to have compensation if you have no carbon tax,” Mr Hockey told Sky News.
Climate change took a back seat to other issues in parliament on Monday, with only three questions coming from the opposition on the issue.
Previous sittings have been dominated by the issue, with the coalition repeatedly seeking to censure the prime minister for breaking her election promise not to introduce a carbon tax.
Mr Abbott asked the prime minister in parliament how she proposed to compensate home builders who faced an extra $6240 under the tax – an estimate provided by the Housing Industry Association.
Ms Gillard said Mr Abbott was continuing his “scare campaign”.
“We will put a price on pollution, that price will be paid by polluters (and) we will generously assist households for the price impacts that they will experience,” she said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister defended delaying the tax forum to which she agreed in order to secure the support of independents to form minority government.The forum has been put off by four months until October 4-5.
Ms Gillard said the delay would not stall tax reform, such as the carbon tax, mining tax and flood levy.
“Yes, we will have a tax forum later in the year and there will be plenty for that tax forum to focus on, but I am not going to engage in days of inaction waiting for that tax forum,” she said.
Mr Abbott said Labor had broken another promise by delaying the forum and wanted to avoid scrutiny of its “tax binge”.
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has no problem with the delay, saying he is more concerned with outcomes.