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SBS News with George Germanos

TV News coverage regarding policy changes and the pressures on families


It may be a grey day, but apparently, there’s a brighter tomorrow. And this seemingly ordinary construction site is the start.

STEPHEN NICOL:  This is all within the Heritage Council planning, so it’s going to remain, look and feel the same.

And it more or less will, but for one notable difference. It’s being called Australia’s first zero-carbon building, because it will source its energy from renewable resources.

STEPHEN NICOL: We’re using the wood waste or the office paper waste from the office tower tenants and are producing the energy through that.

It’s all part of the federal government’s clean energy future campaign, which includes investment in efficient renewable energy sources weaning the economy off its high-coal dependency.

JEANNETTE FRANCIS: That’s the future; this is now, where the foundations are quite literally being set. But some of them, some would argue, are on shaky ground, namely the controversial carbon tax.

The top 500 polluters will pay $23.00 for every ton of carbon they emit which will raise the cost of energy. And that’s got households nervous.

GEORGE GERMANOS: The main one is electricity. That’s got us quite scared. And other things include groceries.

Households will pay more for both, but will also be compensated. The average household will pay $9.90 more per week, but will get an extra $10.10 in benefits in tax breaks. The tax-free threshold will triple to $18,000 and those earning $80,000 or less will receive tax cuts. Families on tax benefit A and B will get year payments for each child, and payments, too, for pensioners, retirees and those on benefits.

But will it be enough to counter costs? Unlikely, says George.

GEORGE GERMANOS: Everyone, from our mechanic to basically everyone will have increased costs and they’re forced to pass on those increased cost. They have no option and unfortunately, we’re going to have to bear that.

Exactly how much George and his family will bear will become clearer from Sunday when the carbon tax kicks off.

Jeannette Francis, World News Australia.

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