Australian carbon tax won't dent jobs growth: Treasurer

CANBERRA Mon Jun 6, 2011 10:35pm EDT

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CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australian government plans for a carbon tax and emissions trade scheme won't hurt the country's strong jobs growth, Treasurer Wayne Swan said on Tuesday, following warnings by the resource sector and the opposition that the policy could hit jobs.

Swan said modeling by Treasury officials, based on a A$20 a metric tone carbon price, found aggregate employment levels would remain much the same with or without a price on carbon emissions.

"Employment continues to grow just as strongly after we put a price on pollution," Swan said in a speech to the National Press Club, adding employment was projected to grow by 1.6 million jobs by 2020.

The government wants to set a carbon tax on 1,000 of the biggest polluting companies from July 2012 in order to fight global warming, with a move to an emissions trading scheme three to five years later.

The starting price of the carbon tax, and the compensation to business and households, is being worked out by a multi-party committee, with details to be announced by early July.

Australia's booming mining sector has warned the carbon tax could lead to big job losses, while opinion polls show voters oppose the carbon tax.

(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Ed Davies)

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