Australian Carbon Tax Collection Hits $4.1B, Short by $1.2B of Expectation

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 17, 2014 9:56 AM EST

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The Australian government collected $4.1 billion carbon tax in 2012/13, $1.2 billion less than the original projection of $7.7 billion.

The shortfall, according to the Clean Energy Regulator report issued on Friday, was because the former Labor-led government provided 132 out of 350 Australian firms and local council who should pay the $23 per tonne tax with over 104 million free permits valued at $2.395 billion, causing the net figure to $4.13 billion.

For that period, the 350 surrendered $6.531 billion in permits.

Almost 50 per cent of the revenue of $2.03 billion came from five companies, namely Macquarie Generation, Great Energy Alliance, Delta Electricity, National Power Australia and Stanwell.

Four companies did not pay their shares, including Queensland Nickel since billionaire Clive Palmer is challenging the firm's carbon tax liability of $6 million in the High Court.

The numbers prompted Environment Minister Greg Hunt to push for the repeal of the carbon tax law, which Opposition leader Bill Shorten vowed to block in Parliament.  Mr Hunt said, quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald, "All Australians can blame Bill Shorter [for] helping to push up electricity bills and the overall cost of living ... It's time for Labor to get out of the way and support the repeal of the carbon tax.

Current Prime Minister Tony Abbott campaigned and won on the main platform of repealing the carbon tax initiated by his nemesis, former PM Julia Gillard.

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Despite the lower-than-expected collection, Climate Institute chief John Connor said it helps in bringing down emission and is expected to reduce pollution by about 40 million tonnes by July 2014.

"The laws make big polluters take responsibility for their pollution - repeal will just return them to an entitlement to pollute for free and access a taxpayer subsidy should they wish to take some action," Mr Connor was quoted by the Herald Sun.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Daniel Munoz / )
A man takes part in a protest against the carbon tax in central Sydney. June 8, 2012.
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