These comments, in my view, generally do not come from a position of knowledge or understanding. "I can't drive too far now - fuel will be too expensive! Will we have to give up our sponsor child? Will we have to eat in the dark? We can't run our heater now! Should we buy less food in the weekly food shop? The carbon tax will send our family to the streets!"
These initial reactions are quite understandable. When the GST was introduced in July 2000, a similar public reaction occurred.
The carbon tax seeks to reflect the negative environmental impacts of goods and services by taxing the carbon dioxide emissions of polluting companies and corporations. It means some household goods and services may increase in cost, as the big polluters pass on their higher costs to consumers.
The average Australian family will be generally compensated for this tax. Annually, the Government will pay a Clean Energy Supplement to those receiving a Centrelink payment and there will be tax adjustments, which will also assist, by way of the new tax reform;
- From 1st July 2011, the Medicare Levy low-income threshold increased.
- From the 2012/2013 year, the tax-free threshold jumps to the first $18,200 (In 2011/2012 was $6,000) of your income. You will be able to earn up to $20,542 (In 2011/2012 was $16,000) before any income tax is payable, when taking into account the Low Income Tax Offset (LITO).
For our family, I have calculated our increase due to the carbon tax will be $7 per week ($388 per year). This was calculated through the Government's Household Assistance Estimator (www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/helping-households/household-assistance-estimator). This website also indicates that our family will be more than compensated through Government payments and also through the tax reform.
The Government's Clean Energy Future website states that 60 per cent of all taxpayers will get a tax cut of at least $300 from 1 July 2012. Every taxpayer under $80,000 gets a tax cut, and no-one pays more tax from what I have understood. (www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/household-assistance-–-support-for-working-australians)
Households, on-road business use of light vehicles and the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries will not face a carbon price on the fuel they use.
Very quickly, we can jump on a 'bandwagon' with lack of knowledge, assumptions or based on an evening topical "tonight" type program we viewed. I sought to research and find out what the facts are for myself. The Government is looking to reduce pollution - the big polluting companies will be paying. This has to have a knock-on effect to consumers, which the Government is fully aware of and, in my opinion are doing their best to alleviate for Australians.
I am very aware of the blessing and plenty we have in Australia. South Africa has almost half it's people living under the poverty line and almost 20% of adults HIV positive, 925 million people worldwide do not have enough to eat, 1.2 billion people, live on less than $1 a day. (www.un.org)
To be more environmentally friendly in your home, check out the Government's Living Greener website: www.livinggreener.gov.au. It contains information; how-to's and rebates for sustainable living.
Genesis 2:15 says; "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."
I understand there is much contention over the necessity of carbon tax and the government in power, but we are called to care for the land. Therefore reducing pollution and becoming more aware of whether we are living responsibly and sustaining our environment wisely is something we all need to consider. Whether the introduction of carbon tax helps this, is still to be discovered.
Belinda Croft is married to Russell and she has a son BJ, 11 years. She has a heart and passion for God, writing, creativity, mission and social justice.
Belinda Croft's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html