Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Australia’s Senate voted Thursday 39 to 32 to kill the two year old emissions tax blamed for hurting oil and gas producers.

The tax — 24.15 Australian dollar (US$22.60) tax per metric ton of carbon dioxide — had been imposed by the left-leaning Labor government in July 2012.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott had promised in his successful campaign last year to repeal the tax.

He plans to replace it with a taxpayer-financed AU$2.55 billion fund to pay industry incentives to use cleaner energy.

“Labor betrayed the Australian people when they introduced the Carbon Tax, and they have continued to betray the Australian people ever since,” Abbott said Thursday.

The prime minister said families will be AU$550 a year better off now that the tax is gone.

The leader of the Green party, Sen. Christine Milne, said it was an “appalling day for Australia.”

But the chief of the Australian Chamber of Commerce, Kate Carnell, said the carbon tax “really did impact on the competitiveness of many Australian businesses and of course it put up the price of power.”

“So it’s a good step forward for competitiveness and also for employment in Australia,” she said.


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