Australia has passed legislation to impose a tax on the nation’s 500 largest polluters. Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, had promised not to push for a carbon tax during elections last year, but has since said it was Australia’s best option to control climate change.
Gillard said, "Today, Australia has a price on carbon as the law of our land. This comes after a quarter-of-a-century of scientific warning, 37 parliamentary enquires, and years of bitter debate and division. Today, our nation has got this done. It has taken the most effective step it can to cut carbon pollution."
The bill was met with applause from the public. But the political opposition says the Gillard government would face a voter backlash at the next federal election. From July next year, Australia’s largest polluters will pay 24 US dollars for every metric ton of carbon gases produced. Critics argue the high tax would hamper the competitiveness of businesses. Australia is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita, because of its heavy reliance on coal for electricity.