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Thursday, 18 August 2011
Page: 8590

Carbon Pricing

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the Victorian government analysis showing that 23,000 jobs will go in Victoria alone by 2015 under her carbon tax. I ask: with Qantas, One Steel, Channel 10 and Westpac laying off hundreds of workers and with manufacturing, retail and tourism facing a serious downturn, how can this be the right time to make a bad situation worse by imposing the world's biggest carbon tax?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:04): I have seen the media report that the Leader of the Opposition held up, and when you look at that media report it details so-called modelling performed by the Victorian government. But this so-called modelling does not take into account the billions and billions of dollars allocated through the carbon pricing package to protect Australian jobs.

I think we should be very clear about what is happening here. The Council of Australian Governments is meeting tomorrow. I am intending, at the Council of Australian Governments, to speak to the state premiers and the chief ministers about our obligations as the nation's leaders during a time where Australians have seen turbulence on global markets. Many of them are understandably very concerned about what that means for them and their families: what that turbulence on global markets means for our nation.

I will be saying to the state premiers and to the chief ministers that now is not the time for the playing of petty politics. Now is not the time for falsely raising alarm and concern. Now is the time when the nation's leaders should be speaking to the Australian community about the inherent strength of the Australian economy but also speaking to the Australian community about the pressure points in our economy. We floated our dollar in 1983. It first hit parity with the US dollar in November last year. And now, of course, because of our exceptionally strong terms of trade we are looking at a strong Australian dollar as far into the future as the eye can see.

Yes, that does mean that there are pressures on some parts of the economy, and it does mean that we need to work with those sectors of the economy—and we will. But, of course, as we go about managing contemporary economic circumstances, what we need to do as this generation of the nation's leaders is have the same courage as earlier generations to stump up and get done the reforms that this nation needs so that it has prosperity tomorrow. ne of those reforms is putting a price on carbon, cutting carbon pollution and making sure we have the clean energy jobs of the future. If anybody is in doubt about the existence of those clean energy jobs then I suggest that they go to the Clean Energy Future display that is on in Parliament House today. There they will meet business people who have brought to Parliament House their clean energy innovations which are making money for them today and which will be the kind of clean energy technology that will make a long-term difference to our economy, creating the jobs of the future and bringing the innovation of the future.

On the question of modelling projections for Victoria, let us be very clear about this: Treasury modelling projects the economy of Victoria will grow by 30 per cent to 2020 alone and by 162 per cent by 2050. The modelling shows that Victoria maintains strong growth under a carbon price with agriculture, construction and services growing by 120, 170 and 246 per cent respectively to 2050. Strong growth, more jobs—that is Victoria's future.