Grand sweeteners welcomed as Tony Abbott attacks

CLIMATE Change Minister Greg Combet has sweetened the terms of $1 billion in carbon tax assistance for manufacturers as Julia Gillard again faced pressure in parliament over the policy’s impact on jobs.

Mr Combet won backing from the Australian Industry Group for changes to its program of $1bn in competitive grants to be allocated across the next seven years.

Tony Abbott seized on an announcement by Qantas that it would shed jobs, declaring Qantas’s carbon tax bill was four times its current tax bill and accusing Ms Gillard of being “in denial” about the impact of the policy on jobs.

But Ms Gillard accused the opposition of misrepresentation and said the Qantas job cuts related to aircraft maintenance.

Cement maker Adelaide Brighton’s managing director Mark Chellew reiterated the company’s intention to move part of its clinker business offshore to mitigate the impact of the carbon tax from July 1, which he said would wipe $2.7 million from its calendar-2012 net profit and $5.4m from the first full year of the tax.

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But Mr Combet, in announcing the government’s latest assistance package was open, said $800m would be available for a Clean Technology Investment Program and $200m would be available for food and foundries investment.

The government sweetened the grant program to offer dollar-for-dollar grants for manufacturers with turnovers of less than $100m who were requesting funding of less than $500,000.

AI Group chief executive designate Innes Willox said the success of CTIP was “critical to manufacturing”. Businesses were finding capital raising hard.

by The Australian – Sid Maher and Sarah Danckert

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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