Business groups are putting pressure on Julia Gillard to offset the entire cost of the carbon tax on the big carbon emitters.
Business Council of Australia president Graham Bradley said in a letter to Gillard that steel companies should be exempt from the tax, while also criticising the Federal Government’s commitment to deliver more than 50% of the tax revenue to low and middle-income families.
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The steel industry and key unions have raised concerns that the carbon tax will cost jobs.
Slowdown set to trigger budget cuts
It’s expected that there will be significant cuts in next month’s Federal Budget after secret Treasury figures showed a $13 billion drop in economic growth this financial year.
Treasurer Wayne Swan has confirmed that growth is forecast at just 2.25%; much lower than the 3.25% predicted in November.
Household bills soar
Household bills are rising at double the rate of inflation, according to a new report.
The ING Direct research shows that bills have risen by 7.5% over the last 12 months, well above the official inflation rate of 2.7%. Queensland households were worst hit, with a rise of 8.3% in outgoings.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 56.68 points to 12,341.83. The Australian dollar remained strong at 105.7 US cents.