08 Nov, 2011

A controversial bill for a carbon tax which aims to cut 159m tonnes of CO2 by 2020, has been passed in the Australian parliament’s upper house, marking one of the most key economic reforms in ten years.

The vote sees Australia become the second major economy to pass legislation to limit carbon emissions legislation, behind the European Union.

The Clean Energy Bill 2011 looks to force companies who contribute considerable to pollution to pay a tax on every tonne of carbon dioxide they produce.

However, the opposition party claim that the legislation, which will affect 500 of the worst polluters, will potentially lead to job losses and increase living costs.

Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard,(pictured) said: “Today Australia has a price on carbon as the law of our land. This comes after a quarter of a century of scientific warnings, 37 parliamentary inquiries, and years of bitter debate and division.”

The proposed tax would be implemented on 1 July 2012 with a market-based trading scheme coming in to effect in 2015. Around 500 companies will be affected, although the agriculture, forestry and land sectors will not be liable.

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