The Coalition has made no bones about our plans to abolish the carbon tax. The Coalition was elected with a clear majority of seats and a mandate to scrap the toxic carbon tax. Labor, who introduced the tax in the last term of Government, received its lowest primary vote in many years.
Regional Australians understand that a carbon tax increases the cost of living for all Australians and it has no impact on the environment, as emissions just shift offshore. Repealing the carbon tax will be the first item of business when Parliament resumes on November 12.
Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, has released the first draft of the legislation to repeal the carbon tax and the draft is available on the Department of the Environment website. Public consultation will continue until November 4 and I encourage all of those who are interested to make a submission.
Households will be about $550 better off in the next financial year without a carbon tax in place. Regional Australians are hit hardest by the carbon tax and I believe it is especially important that the Coalition has committed to repealing the carbon tax on fuels used in shipping, rail and air transport.
The ACCC will be charged with monitoring companies to ensure that consumers can feel the benefit of having the carbon tax removed with penalties of up to $1.1 million for corporations and $220,000 for individuals who fail to pass on the price relief.
The Minister for Environment has also moved forward in another key policy commitment. Mr Hunt has worked to create a framework for a one-stop shop to streamline environmental approvals.
The Federal Government will work towards developing a memorandum of understanding with the state governments to reduce red tape, whilst maintaining the high environmental standards which Australians are proud to have.
This is an important reform for regional areas where infrastructure or industrial projects have such a large impact on the local community and the regional economy.
It is important that all appropriate environmental assessments are carried out; however duplication is costly and can often draw out the proposal stage for far too long.
An assessment should be done as thoroughly and as efficiently as possible.
We are at the beginning of the process but I am confident that progress will be made for the benefit of regional Australia.
Regional Australians care about the environment and in fact are in much closer contact with the environment than our metropolitan counterparts.
But we are practical people and government policy should be geared towards outcomes, not meaningless motherhood statements. The removal of the carbon tax and a one-stop shop for environmental approvals are both practical measures which will be beneficial for the Parkes electorate.
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.