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Mining the truth: The rhetoric and reality of the commodities boom
“The future is in our hands, and it will be defined by the way we handle the current minerals boom. Get it wrong, and we falter. Get it right, and we set the nation up for decades to come.” Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard The Australian economy, like all modern economies, is diverse and
The direct costs of waiting for direct action
In the 2007 federal election both major parties committed to introducing an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). By 2009 both parties agreed on an emissions reduction target of five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020. But since Tony Abbott became leader of the Liberal Party the bipartisan position for a reliance on a market based
The real cost of direct action: An analysis of the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan
The Coalition has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020. It proposes to achieve this target with a “Direct Action Plan”: a competitive grant scheme that would buy greenhouse gas reductions from businesses and farmers. Over the past decade various Australian governments have announced more than seven
On the wrong track: The case for abandoning the promised $7 billion subsidies to Australia’s dirtiest coal-fired power stations
The Gillard Government is committed to introducing a price on carbon pollution by July 2012 however the details of the price, the sectors of the economy that will be covered by the scheme and the design features of the compensation package that is likely to accompany the carbon price are currently being negotiated by the
Surplus fetish: The political economy of the surplus, deficit and debt
The federal budget presents a complex management puzzle that all governments have to address and explain to the electorate. Sometimes concepts are borrowed from the corporate sector and sometimes analogies are made with the household sector; the Howard Government, in particular, imported numerous corporate accounting concepts. But often these concepts are applied uncritically and inappropriately.
The industries that cried wolf
The introduction of a carbon price in Australia in July 2012 will raise more than $10 billion per year, help influence industrial and household decision making and, inevitably, increase the costs and reduce the profits of some businesses. Such increases in cost and the subsequent change in behaviour are, of course, the objective of introducing
Submission on mining taxation
On 30 September 2010, the Select Committee on New Taxes initiated an inquiry into the following matter: (a) new taxes proposed for Australia, including: (i) the minerals resource rent tax and expanded petroleum resource rent tax, (ii) a carbon tax, or any other mechanism to put a price on carbon, and (iii) any other new
Removing poverty traps in the tax transfer system
The Australian tax-transfer system targets those in need and, as a consequence, is prone to poverty traps, areas where higher private income leads to very little gain in disposable income, and high effective marginal tax rates (EMTRs) in general. This can severely impact on people’s ability to work their way out of poverty. Particularly acute
Once more with feeling: Principles for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the wellbeing of most Australians
While the 2007 election was fought on a promise by the ALP to introduce a carbon price the 2010 election was fought by both the ALP and the Coalition on a promise not to do so. For the ALP the promised inaction was until at least 2013 and for the Coalition the promise was open
Why a carbon tax is good for the hip pocket
A price on carbon is widely regarded as an essential element of an efficient response to climate change, yet such an approach has been described as a ‘great big tax on everything’ by opponents. While there is no doubt that putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions will lead to an increase in the price
Tax equity: Reforming capital gains taxation in Australia
Report analysing Australian tax treatments. The paper concludes with a number of suggestions for reform, principally: · eliminating the 50 per cent discount · incorporating all pre-1986 assets · deemed realisation of assets on death · including owner-occupied housing above a certain value.
Agricultural emissions are a significant source of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions yet they will be excluded from the initial stage of the Rudd Government’s proposed CPRS, with a view to incorporating them from 2015. This paper examines Treasury’s modelling of the likely impact of the CPRS on the agricultural sector and finds it could be
Harder to do than to say?
Coal-fired power stations comprise the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, accounting for 36 per cent of total emissions in 2008. Any determined effort to tackle what Prime Minister Rudd has referred to as the ‘moral challenge’ of climate change would presumably seek to reduce emissions from that source significantly. The proposed Carbon
State of denial
While the Commonwealth will receive a windfall of more than $10 billion per year in revenue from auctioning pollution permits, state and local governments will transfer more than $2 billion a year to the Commonwealth Government. In addition, the states will be liable for tens of billions of dollars-worth of expenditure associated with adapting to
Tax equity: Reforming capital gains taxation in Australia
Short-term capital gains have always been taxed as income in Australia but gains on assets held for more than a year were first taxed in 1986 under the Hawke/Keating tax reforms. Pre-1986 assets were exempted and housing was not included. Gains on post-1986 assets were taxed in full but indexation applied. The Howard/Costello Government abolished
Increasing the Newstart Allowance: A necessary part of equitable fiscal stimulus
The arguments for a higher Newstart Allowance or unemployment benefit include the fact that the unemployed have a low propensity to import and to save and are geographically distributed across the country. There is the added virtue of helping to address an increasing problem of horizontal equity, the notion that those in a similar financial
Fixing the Floor in the ETS
Emissions trading will impose a ‘floor’ below which emissions cannot fall as well as a ‘cap’ above which emissions cannot rise. When the government has decided on an acceptable level of pollution, it will issue a corresponding number of pollution permits. If households use less energy and create less pollution, they will simply free up
The case for a new top tax rate
Discusses the benefits of introducing a new tax threshold specifically aimed at very high income earners. It argues that the current top tax rate of 45 per cent, which applies to incomes of over $180,000 per year, is inadequate in a corporate environment where CEOs can be paid very large salaries indeed.
The role of a higher age pension in stimulating the economy
When the economy is slowing governments can stimulate economic activity by spending more money, thereby increasing the level of demand for goods and services. The Commonwealth Government could start injecting tens of millions of dollars into the economy each week simply by increasing the size of a payment such as the age pension.
The tax treatment of capital investments in renewable energy
Examines the treatment of capital expenses in the renewable energy sector with particular emphasis on the need to introduce accelerated depreciation provisions to help encourage new investment in alternative sources of power. Accelerated depreciation refers to the capacity for selected industries to claim bigger tax deductions for the cost of their investments in new equipment
Who are the (un)intended losers from emissions trading?
The emission trading scheme will provide compensation for the price rise for final users. However such policies do not apply to state governments, local governments, the community sector, and the federal government. In total the ETS would cost these public sectors $3.5b annually.
The Impact of an Emissions Trading Scheme on State Government Budgets
The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) places a $20 per tonne of CO2 price on carbon pollution. While the government advocates schemes to help businesses pay this increase, no such scheme has been passed onto the states and territories. The states and territories would pay a projected $1.5b, or 15,000 teaching, policing and nursing jobs.
State and territory tourism assistance: A zero sum game
This piece focuses on domestic tourism assistance and event attraction within the tourism industry of states and territories. While the taxpayer spends over $245m annually on assistances to the tourism industry there is very little return. The only reasons that states and territories engage in the industry is because it is perceived as a zero
Competitiveness and Carbon Pricing: Border adjustments for greenhouse policies
This paper outlines a radical new proposal to pay rebates to export industries adversely affected by greenhouse gas emission taxes thereby preserving the international competitiveness of energy-intensive exporters whilst maintaining the carbon price signal with the domestic economy. Implementation of the proposal would thus effectively remove the main argument used against the ratification of the
Who is Better at Managing the Australian Economy: Labor or the Coalition?
A new analysis of the economic performance of the Hawke-Keating Labor Government and the Howard Government concludes that, in a reversal of what would be expected, Labor did better at controlling inflation and the real rate of interest, while the Coalition did better at reducing unemployment and cutting the current account deficit.
Missing the target: An analysis of Australian Government greenhouse spending
Analyses the current levels of spending on greenhouse programs by the Australian Government with a view to relating this spending to the task of meeting the Kyoto Protocol target; comparing the levels of spending in Australia with that of other developed countries; discussing the role of spending on renewable energy technology and drawing conclusions on
Tax Flight? An analysis of the ‘duty free’ system in Australia
Duty free stores in Australia have tax exempt status, on goods such as tobacco and alcohol, goods which the government places high taxes on to create a disincentive. The Australian government also loses over $100 million per annum through duty free stores, disproportionately to the wealthiest 20% who can afford to travel overseas. This piece