AUSTRALIA: Government urged to introduce carbon emissions trading

An independent research group has concluded that early introduction of a domestic emissions trading system is the best way for Australia to meet its Kyoto emissions reduction target, given that the government has decided against a carbon tax. The report also shows that business tax reform to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could simultaneously boost job creation.


Business Tax and the Environment: Emissions trading as a tax reform option is published by The Australia Institute. The authors argue that the Australian federal government’s current review of business tax should include the introduction of a domestic emissions trading system and that the revenue gained should be used to reduce companies’ payroll tax.

The study proposes a ‘cap-and-trade’ emissions trading system that uses permits to limit the quantity of greenhouse gases that major emitters can discharge. The scheme would impose financial penalties on companies that emitted such gases without sufficient permits.

Predicting an annual revenue of $7AUS billion, the report recommends the revenue should be used to implement one of the following:

  • reduce company tax
  • introduce changes to accelerated depreciation
  • reduce or abolish payroll tax.

The Australia Institute was founded in 1994 to conduct “independent research and policy analysis and to participate forcefully in public debates”. Although the Institute’s members do not share a specific ideology, they are “concerned about the impact on Australian society of the priority given to a narrow definition of economic efficiency over community, environmental and ethical considerations in public and private decision making”.

The Institute has conducted research in the following areas:

  • Privatisation
  • Greenhouse Policy
  • Native Property Rights
  • Tax Reform
  • Employment
  • Infrastructure
  • Gambling Taxation
  • Waterfront Productivity
  • GDP vs Genuine Progress Indicators

Other countries are exploring emissions trading and, in some cases, environmental tax reform. Edie stories regarding emissions trading in the following countries and regions are available:

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