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A greener future

Thursday, 10th November, 2011

HISTORIC DAY: Prime Minister Julia Gillard with Treasurer Wayne Swan and the Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet at the press conference which followed the historic Clean Energy Future vote in the Senate. HISTORIC DAY: Prime Minister Julia Gillard with Treasurer Wayne Swan and the Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet at the press conference which followed the historic Clean Energy Future vote in the Senate.

By Prime Minister Julia Gillard

This is an historic week that will change the lives of many Australians.

After 20 years of debate, the Labor Government’s Clean Energy Future legislation has been passed by our Parliament and will become law.

This is the first time we will have a law that cuts the carbon pollution which causes climate change.

Labor has fought hard to do the right thing. We’re protecting the environment for our children and our grandchildren. Let me be clear - the carbon price is not a tax on individuals or families. 

Not at all. Instead it’s something that 500 of our biggest polluters will pay for the carbon pollution they pump into our atmosphere.

These polluters will now have an incentive to cut their carbon pollution. If they become greener they will pay less of the carbon price. 

In addition, our plan will help Australian companies become greener by funding innovative ideas and new clean energy technologies.

Labor understands some people are concerned polluters may pass on the carbon price to their customers. That’s why we’ve included financial assistance in our plan to support families. Nine out of ten households will receive tax cuts and increases in their pensions and allowances to assist them with any costs passed on by polluters.

For a year now, Tony Abbott has claimed the impact of the carbon price on families will be almost unimaginable. The truth is any increase will be modest.

Treasury has told Australians that groceries, for example, are only expected to go up by 80 cents per week.

The household assistance we are offering will offset these increases. In fact, more than four million households will end up better off.

In NSW for example, around 2.4 million people will receive a tax cut and for more than 1.9 million of these, it will be a cut of at least $300.

Further assistance will be provided to 1.9 million residents across the State through pension and allowance increases or through boosts to family support payments.

I know there are many people in NSW already driving green change.

Earlier this year I opened a new wind farm near Gunning which will power 23,000 homes.

While in Sydney, it was a new office building that produces 25 per cent of its own power through tri-generation.

It’s great to see people in NSW doing their bit to protect our environment. Together we will make a difference for our children and our grandchildren.

Future generations will judge that we are on the right side of history.

We have taken action to cut carbon pollution and make our country a better place to live.

I see a great clean energy future for our great country.

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