By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
All branches of industry in Australia, including automotive and repair markets, are in an uproar over the looming Carbon Tax set to take effect on July 1 of this year. Beyond the financial implications which are substantial, they’re also miffed that they were lied to by their government.
When she was running to be elected Prime Minister in August, 2010 Julia Gillard said, “There will be no carbon tax under a government that I lead.” Yet by November, 2011 she had signed just such a bill into law. The greater idea is to reduce emissions of all atmosphere-damaging gases, using taxation as a blunt instrument to force reductions. The more you emit, the more you pay and a variety of industries have been identified as targets.
The base rate is $23 Australian dollars per tonne of CO2. That will have an obvious effect on coal fired power generation and predictions see an average increase immediately in home electric bills, in some states as much as A$320 per year. Other chemicals are assessed higher rates based on their global warming potential relative to CO2.
Since all refrigerants commonly in use for either mobile or stationary refrigeration have a much higher GWP than the base CO2, the tax amount is higher too. Predictions see the cost of all refrigerants in Oz increasing to three or four times their present cost. Distributors and shop owners are worried about being able to pass the cost on to customers.
The new tax hits hard on all branches of transportation and those costs will have to be spread to the consumer. Economists predict every facet of the national economy will see substantial price spikes after July.
While reducing pollution is an admirable goal, supporters of the tax overlooked one fact—there is no damage done when there are no emissions in the first place! That’s what has the nation’s entire HVACR industry wound up right now.
Australia already has what is arguably the stiffest refrigerant control and management program in the world. Put into law a few years ago, the country now has cradle-to-grave control and documentation required for every ounce of all refrigerants from the moment of import to their final destruction.
All that work for nothing; recent appeals to the government from several industry groups and manufacturers, plus presentations of existing (but often unenforced) laws, were dismissed as trivial.
VASA, MACS sister organization, was in the fight up to its ears but to no avail. The new tax does not provide any credit for proper recovery, re-purification or destruction of contaminated refrigerant. Those following good practice are to be punished with the sinners.
VASA’s Mark Mitchell said, “This industry has proved time and time again that it is capable of change for the better.
“The government would have achieved a lot more for the environment, if that’s their genuine concern, if they imposed deadlines on technology change as the European Union has done. Leave a strict licensing regime in place and the problem is solved.”
As July 1st nears, opposition to the tax is rising on all sides, and some are calling for the Australian Parliament to rescind the entire measure immediately. A large business coalition has warned that the upcoming “green tape” will endanger over $900 billion in investments and affect the country’s national economy for years to come.
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When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.