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Australia

Australia

Independent researchers propose "feel good" carbon tax boosting retirement funds

The Australia Institute, an independent public policy research centre, is proposing a "feel good" carbon tax where the revenue generated is channelled back to every Australian adult in the form of an annual government contribution to their retirement savings. The aim of the Super-Carbon scheme is to make it more expensive to consume fossil fuels while removing the political pain from implementing a carbon tax, explains the Institute's Clive Hamilton. "This proposal has a nice flavour: saving for retirement while saving the environment. It represents double savings, in effect," he says. Under the proposal, the price of petrol would be raised by 5%, coal-fired electricity by 20% and natural gas by 9-13%. As a result it is expected that consumers will move towards an increased use of energy from wind power and other renewable energy sources. Meanwhile every time an Australian pays an electricity bill or fills their car with petrol, they will also be contributing to their retirement income. It is estimated that a A$20 per tonne carbon tax would be sufficient to stop Australian greenhouse gas emissions from growing

and raise the A$7 billion required to put A$500 a year into the superannuation funds of Australia's

14.2 million adults. Over 30

years this would leave an individual A$50,000 better off. There has, however, been no official expression of interest from the Australian government to take up the proposal.

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