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Carbon tax passed

“A significant day for all Australians,” announced Prime Minister Julia Gillard, about the decision by the Lower House of Parliament to approve the carbon tax bill.

The government passed its 18 pieces of legislation by a vote of 74 to 72 just before 10 am.

The Bills will now go to the Senate for debate but it has been said that they will pass with help from the Greens sometime next month.

Under the legislation, about 500 of the biggest carbon-emitting companies in Australia will pay a price for each tonne of carbon. Most of the biggest emitters are electricity-generating firms, mining companies and heavy industry manufacturers.

To compensate households, the government is cutting income taxes and boosting payments such as pensions and other benefits, as well as offering various lump sum payments.

The average household is expected to pay about $9.90 a week in extra living costs, including $3.30 on electricity. However, this will be offset by an estimated $10.10 in extra benefits and tax breaks.

The scheme will cover about 60% of Australia’s emissions, making it one of the most broad-based systems in the world.

By Kylie Rhodes

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