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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that businesses and families will no longer be "slugged" by the carbon tax, after the Senate voted by 39 to 32 in favor of its repeal.
Reacting to the vote, Abbott said that the Coalition was honoring one of its key election commitments. He stressed that by taking the cost burden off businesses, they will be better able to compete and create jobs. The Government estimates that the average Australian household will save AUD550 (USD515) a year.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been given price monitoring powers to ensure that savings are passed on to consumers.
Abbott also took the opportunity to attack the former Labor Government for the introduction of a "AUD9bn a year hit on the Australian economy." Labor, he said, had "voted against its repeal at every single opportunity."
Labor in turn condemned the result, with party leader Bill Shorten claiming that "history will judge Tony Abbott very harshly for refusing to believe in genuine action on climate change." He described the Prime Minister as "an environmental vandal with no view of the future."
Labor remains committed to a carbon pricing system. In a television interview this week, Shorten confirmed that he will campaign at the next election to introduce an emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Representatives of the business community welcomed the news. In a joint statement, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, and the Minerals Council of Australia said that repeal was "the first step towards an emissions reduction policy that works for the economy and the environment."
The groups urged that the "economic and environmental impacts of policy and any changes to it need to be fully considered as part of a transparent and consultative process. If policy were to be developed through political negotiations without adequate consultation, the likely outcome would be unworkable."
"Climate policy should achieve its objectives at least cost – not erode the competitiveness of trade exposed industries – and support efficient long-term investment."
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