Turnbull dumped; ETS in doubt

By: Jason Whittaker

By Brad Gardner Malcolm Turnbull has been dumped in favour of Tony Abbott as the leader of the federal Liberal Party,

By Brad Gardner

Malcolm Turnbull has been dumped in favour of Tony Abbott as the leader of the federal Liberal Party, putting in doubt the Rudd Government’s ability to pass emissions trading legislation.

Abbott, who won by one vote, pledged to support a move to send the Government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) to a Senate committee to report back next year.

The Government wanted the CPRS passed before climate change negotiations began in Copenhagen later this month.

The scheme is expected to increase fuel prices for heavy vehicle operators because fuel manufacturers will be forced to buy permits to pollute, with the cost of permits to be passed on to consumers.

A one-year transition for the transport industry will be introduced, which will cut the fuel excise by one cent for every one cent rise in fuel as a result of the CPRS.

The National Party will not support the scheme despite the Opposition agreeing to vote in favour of emissions trading in return for the Government accepting amendments to help the coal and electricity sectors.

"The Nationals have had a consistent position on this matter from day one. We have not – and will not – support a tax on everything that does nothing to help the environment," Opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss says.

The issue has divided the Coalition, with some Liberals and the entire National Party refusing to support emissions trading, while some Liberals such as Judith Troeth and Gary Humphries support the Government’s plan.

However, Truss says he and other colleagues have been inundated with emails and calls by people concerned about the impact of emissions trading on them.

Senator John Williams last month claimed the CPRS would increase the cost of new vehicles because the cost manufacturing would rise.

The Government’s White Paper on the CPRS says transport must be included in an emissions trading scheme because it contributes 14 percent of the country’s emissions, with road transport responsible for 90 percent of that figure.

The paper argues that increases to fuel prices will encourage the development of new cleaner technologies and force fuel users to reduce their demand on the resource.

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