Australia Unveils Carbon Tax Scheme

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The Australian government announces plans to impose a carbon tax on its 500 worst polluters. This paves the way to adopt the largest emissions-trading scheme outside of Europe.

Australia unveiled plans on Sunday to hit its worst polluters with a carbon tax in the nation's most sweeping economic reform in decades.

This smoothes the way for the largest emissions-trade scheme outside Europe with tax cuts for voters and sweeteners for industry.

[Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister]:
"We are here now and now is the time to get this done. As a nation we need to put a price on carbon and create a clean energy future."

Australia is the rich world's worst per-capita greenhouse gas emitter due to a heavy reliance on ageing coal-fired power stations for electricity.

Around 500 big polluters will pay a price for every ton of carbon pollution they put into our atmosphere.

[Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister]:
"Because something they used to do for free now costs them money, they will innovate, they will change. They will find a way of reducing that bill and in doing so they will reduce that carbon pollution."

Outside the EU, only New Zealand has a national carbon scheme.