Oxfam at Tax Forum in Canberra (4&5 October)

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 04 Oct 2011

Oxfam Australia’s Director of Policy, James Ensor, is a delegate at the Tax Forum in Canberra, and available for interview on the Financial Transaction Tax (Robin Hood Tax), and an International Maritime Bunker Levee.

Through our work around the world, Oxfam is seeing first-hand the devastating impacts that climate change is having on poor communities.

Financial Transaction Tax (or Robin Hood Tax):

The FTT is a tiny 0.05 per cent tax on institutional trades of currencies, stocks, bonds, derivatives and interest rate securities. It is predicted that this could raise hundreds of billions of dollars globally per year.

The world’s poorest people will require substantial finances to both adapt to the impacts of climate change and develop along low-carbon pathways.

In Copenhagen in 2009, the global community committed to mobilising $US100bn per year by 2020 for this purpose. The revenue from a Financial Transaction Tax could help us meet this commitment, paving the way for a global climate change deal.

Many European countries are now willing to give the Robin Hood Tax a go, including France, Germany, Spain, Finland, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Portugal. Meanwhile, it is being widely reported this week that the Gates Foundation backs an FTT.

The European Commission has just released an impact assessment of an FTT, which finds it would have only small effects on GDP and employment, and would be a very effective tool to curb problematic speculation, which contributes to market volatility.

EU Finance Ministers are expected to discuss the proposal in a meeting in Luxembourg held on the same day as the Australian Government’s Tax Forum (4 Oct).

A proposed FTT is on the agenda at November’s G20 meeting, and Australia can play a critical role in ensuring the proposal is fully discussed and progressed. Oxfam will be raising the benefits of a Robin Hood Tax at the Tax Forum in Canberra, and hopes this will encourage Australia to throw its full support behind this proposal.

An International Maritime Bunker Fuel Levee:

Putting a price on emissions from global shipping presents a dual opportunity to both reduce emissions from the maritime sector and raise money to help people in poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Shipping emissions, also known as ‘bunkers’ in the UN climate negotiations, are significant and rapidly growing. A single ship can emit more in one year than many small island states. Shipping emissions are not currently regulated under the global climate regime.

A carbon price for ships, at around $US25 per tonne, can drive significant maritime emissions cuts and is likely to increase the cost of shipping by just 0.2 per cent, or $2 for every $1000 traded. Such a scheme could raise $US25 billion per year.

For media interviews, contact Laurelle Keough, Oxfam Australia on 0409 960 100