AUSTRALIA - Retirement benefits should be raised and the government should promote investment in renewable energy in a bid to stimulate the economy, the Australia Institute has said.
Richardson said: "The problem is that we are asking investors to build expensive wind, solar and gas-fired power plants and at the same time people are assuming that the price of these plants will fall sharply over the coming years. If we are serious about encouraging these sorts of investments, we need to make sure the tax system isn't creating additional barriers.
"The global financial crisis is not an excuse to go soft on climate change. Instead, it should provide impetus for ensuring that investment in critical infrastructure like renewable energy goes ahead."
He said if the government was serious about the triple needs of tackling climate change, encouraging job creation and promoting investment in the Australian economy to act against the global downturn, then "providing tax concessions that match the economics of renewable energy would be a good place to start".
The Institute also released research entitled 'The role of a higher age pension in stimulating the economy', which showed the majority of Australians (82%) felt the single pension should be raised and would be willing to accept higher taxes to fund it.
The Institute argued increasing pension benefits would also act towards stimulating the Australian economy, as pensioners' consumption tends to be biased towards domestic markets.
Dr Richard Denniss, executive director of the Australia Institute said: "Increasing the age pension is a particularly effective way of injecting money into the economy. Pensioners spend less money on imported cars and overseas holidays than higher income earners, which means the money has a greater effect on the Australian economy."
He added: "There has always been a strong case for increasing the age pension on equity grounds. The recent financial crisis and the slowing of the Australian economy simply strengthens the case."
There has been ongoing controversy in recent weeks between the government and opposition parties over calls to raise the basic state pension (globalpensions.com; 12/09/08).
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