Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has dismissed as “rubbish” claims that workers will be overcompensated for the carbon tax.
The Australian Industry Group (AIG) has asked Fair Work Australia to limit the next rise in the minimum wage to $14 a week – below the rate of inflation, The Australian reports.
The industry group argues the cost of the carbon tax will be far less than the compensation received through government measures.
“Isn’t it funny that you’ve got some peak business people running around like Chicken Little screaming fear and all the rest of it,” Mr Combet told ABC Radio on Monday.
“And then on the other hand you’ve got the Australian Industry Group indicating that people are being overcompensated with the assistance.
“There’s just a lot of rubbish that goes on in the debate that we’re hearing.”
AIG says the compensation offered by the government to offset the impact of the carbon price is so generous that the lowest-paid workers should only get a 2.4 per cent pay rise.
This is below the 3.1 per cent increase in the cost of living during the past 12 months.
AIG can’t have it both ways: Macklin
Business groups cannot have it both ways on the carbon tax and compensation, Families Minister Jenny Macklin says.
The group argues the cost of the carbon tax will be far less than government compensation.
Previously the group has said it was very concerned about the tax’s impact on the economy and that its starting price of $23 a tonne was set too high.
“You can’t on the one hand say that people aren’t getting enough support or compensation with the introduction of the carbon price and then on the other hand say they’re getting too much,” she told reporters.
“We are determined to support the majority of Australians with the introduction of the carbon price,” Ms Macklin said.
The Australian Greens said there were many business leaders who supported pricing carbon and called on them to publicly support the changes.
“It’s time for those who know we can make this nation competitive in a rapidly changing world to stand up and say so,” acting leader Christine Milne said in a statement.
The carbon tax comes into effect on July 1.