Coalition calls out Gillard in fight against EU ETS
MOST of the world’s leading economies and major airline nations have banded together to oppose the European Union’s carbon tax on international airlines flying into and out of Europe. So far the Gillard government has remained on the sidelines despite Australia’s airlines among those with the most to lose.
This week the Coalition moved in Federal Parliament to have Australia join the fight, led by Nationals leader and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss.
“It is a weak, divided and inept government that has barely uttered a whimper when our nation’s air travellers are being hit by an outrageous new tax imposed by another country,” Mr Truss declared.
“The international backlash to the EU ETS being imposed on flights into and out of Europe has been led by the United States, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Brazil and Russia, but as this global outcry has gathered momentum and raged for more than six months, the Gillard government has sat passively on the sidelines.
“Given the EU’s new tax regime is based on distances travelled it will hit Australia especially hard. It is outrageous that Australian passengers and airlines will pay the EU tax even when not travelling over EU airspace.
“In some cases the EU will demand that tax from Australian aircraft flying over Australian airspace on their way to Europe.
“The Gillard government has been worse than ineffectual, it has failed to even take up the fight. Despite the chorus of countries challenging these EU charges and threatening a WTO showdown, Julia Gillard and Anthony Albanese have sat on their hands.”
The Coalition pressed the case in Parliament today with Mr Truss moving a motion in the House of Representatives to force the government’s hand and calling on it to:
* ‘use all political, diplomatic, and legal tools at its disposal to ensure that the European Union’s ETS is not applied to aircraft registered by Australia or the operators of those aircraft;
* ‘should the European Union maintain the application of the European Union ETS to flight sectors outside Europe, immediately assess whether the European Union ETS is consistent with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements and join any WTO challenge; and
* ‘join any other international action to prevent the application of the European Union ETS to non-European Union airspace.’
“Under the EU ETS Qantas will pay an extra $2.3 million in 2012 alone and that comes directly back to Australian passengers and tourists – it’s just another massive whack our tourism industry does not need,” Mr Truss said.
“Qantas has already imposed fare increases on flights to and from London and Frankfurt. But it gets worse over time, as Qantas’ is currently receiving some free EU credits as a legacy carrier – to the tune of 85% of the tax – which gradually expire by 2020. So those charges will go up dramatically.
“Virgin Australia’s code-share with Etihad into Europe will also see its costs and passenger fares rise from the EU tax on its flights between Abu Dhabi and Europe.
“But what is not well understood is that if Jetstar or Virgin Australia enter the European market in their own right, they will cop the full 100% ETS costs from day one – possibly running into tens of millions of dollars.
“Where is the Gillard government in fighting for the interests of Australian airlines, Australian passengers and our struggling tourism sector?
“With the leading economies of the world up in arms, surely our government should be in lock-step with the international effort to protect the global competitiveness of airlines, especially as Australia is exposed with so much more to lose.
“Other countries are taking action in the WTO, saying the EU tax is a breach of the Chicago Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, Open Skies Agreements and is contrary to the principles of international law.
“The Gillard government’s inaction has abandoned sovereignty over our own airspace and is leaving Australian airlines and their passengers to foot new and unreasonable costs that some of our competitors are simply refusing to pay.”
Latest Press ReleasesFederal Budget takes an axe to infr...
Labor’s Budget of broken promises
Labor’s Budget leaves Cooroy to Cur...
Regional Australia dumped from Labo...
Nominations open for 2013 Wide Bay ...
« BACK »