A taxing step forward for green start-ups

On Monday I attended Green Capital’s The Long Carbon Journey where the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, addressed an audience of over 400 high level people about the proposed carbon tax and what it means “moving forward”.


The PM herself didn’t give any more detailed information about the actual carbon tax than is already available but what I took from her address and response to the questions from the floor was this…


We all have a responsibility to promote the facts about climate change as well as to refute the lies and misinformation that is being promoted by those in opposition to the carbon tax.


Julia openly admitted that the Government can’t do it alone and that the support of forward thinking businesses, popular media and everyday individuals is needed to promote the message that a price on carbon is a good thing.


For example, opposition leader Tony Abbott, stating on ABC’s 7:30 Report: “There is no other comparable country which is imposing an economy-wide carbon tax on itself, there’s no other comparable country which is imposing an emissions trading scheme on itself” should be refuted by everyone, including and especially the popular media, as the blatant lie that it is.


Abbott knows full well that this is rubbish and the audacity to say it on national television accurately illustrates his opinions on climate change as being whatever the public wants to hear and whatever will win his party the most support.


Julia’s brave efforts in the face of public disapproval to present the Clean Energy Future package to help Australia manage climate change into the future were welcomed and applauded by the majority of people and organisations at the Green Capital event.


Most of Australia’s large corporates and environmental not-for-profit organisations were represented at this event.


While many think the package should go further and/or be more punitive to the big polluters, it is a great starting point and more importantly, fundamentally addresses many of the barriers that have prevented Australia embracing clean energy up until now.


Another message to green business and the investment community was that come July next year, the time to invest, develop, grow and prosper will be upon us as plenty of money is available for innovative businesses with good ideas and products that can help lower our carbon emissions.


To quote the PM: “Go for it”.


My take on the package is much the same as most of the people in the room today. It is a great starting point, it addresses many of the barriers and hurdles we need to overcome to move forward and it puts a price on carbon as it was designed to do.


A small win for SMEs is the increase in the instant tax write-off for purchased asserts from $5,000 to $6,500.


However, SMEs themselves have been left out of the package despite the large part of the Australian economy they comprise.


Where I think it fails is on the high levels of compensation slated for the big polluters and the small number of the big polluters the tax will apply to.


It does seem, though, that these numbers could be changed fairly easily in the future to make me happier and the big polluters less happy.


After all, a price on carbon is supposed to make the big polluters unhappy enough to change their behaviour, drastically.


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