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Families to be slugged A$360 a year for carbon emissions

FAMILIES will be slugged $360 extra a year in bills and food prices are expected to jump once the Federal Government introduces an emissions trading scheme.

While the Government has promised to compensate low-income earners for the price rises, grocery and pensioner groups yesterday attacked the scheme, which is likely to be introduced in 2010.

Long-term Treasury modelling released yesterday showed an emissions trading scheme that would cut greenhouse gases by 5 to 15 per cent by 2020 would cause a one-off spike in inflation of between 1 and 1.5 per cent. If carbon was priced between $23 and $32 a tonne, households would pay an extra $4-$5 a week for electricity and $2 extra a week for gas – $364 a year in total.

Modelling says poorer households and pensioners will be hardest hit, but the Government has committed to increasing payments and assistance to pensioners, carers, and low and middle income families.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council said the modelling was too extreme, and forecast that food prices would soar as manufacturers were forced to pass on emissions trading costs to consumers.

“The price rise will be 5 per cent across the board – it’s a real cost to all Australians,” council chief Kate Carnell said.

Liverpool residents Paris Panagopoulos, Susan Ferre and Anna Smith believe the scheme’s impact would be particularly tough for young, low-paid workers.

“Everything has gone up in price, so when you add an extra $7 a week to that it is going to be tough,” Ms Panagopoulos said.

Pensioner groups were also outraged – despite the Government’s promise of help.

The modelling shows the economy would continue – albeit at a slightly slower rate.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said a scheme would create many thousands of jobs, and said the modelling showed that the earlier Australia acts, the cheaper the cost of action.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull criticised the Treasury’s figures, saying they did not consider the current economic crisis.

By Alison Rehn and Brad Watts

Sourced From Daily Telegraph

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