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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 3492

Carbon Pricing


Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (14:24): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that Townsville ratepayers will have to pay an extra $5 million each year because of her carbon tax? I refer the Prime Minister to the comments of the Mayor of Townsville, Les Tyrell: 'Any compensation will fall well short, and councils across Australia may be faced with the dilemma of either pulling back on services or raising rates.' What does the Prime Minister advise the mayor to do: cut services or raise rates?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:24): In the first instance, what I would advise the mayor to do is ask the member for Herbert why he voted against the Townsville Ring Road project, which will be funded through the proceeds of the minerals resource rent tax and why he has voted to deny the people of his electorate up to $160 million in extra infrastructure. That is what I would suggest that the local mayor ask the member—

Mr Ewen Jones: Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: The honourable the Prime Minister will resume her seat. Any honourable member is entitled to take a point of order. The member for Herbert is seeking my attention for this purpose, and he is now given the call.

Mr Ewen Jones: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on direct relevance. I do not know what any of this has to do with whether the mayor can raise rates or cut services—one or the other. It is a very simple yes-or-no question. If the Prime Minister cannot answer it she should probably sit down.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member is a new member. I will determine whether the Prime Minister is sat down or not and not the honourable member for Herbert. The Prime Minister will obviously be directly relevant.

Ms GILLARD: Once again, I say to the member for Herbert that he has got a lot of explaining to do. The Townsville Ring Road was voted against by the member for Herbert. On the question of carbon pricing, I would advise the local mayor to get the facts about carbon pricing that are available to local councils. Because as well as voting against infrastructure in his electorate the member for Herbert is engaged in the Leader of the Opposition's fear campaign, he would of course have avoided any of the facts. The facts are these: the impact on the cost of living has been modelled by Treasury at 0.7 per cent, people will receive in their hands additional money—pension payments, family payments, tax cuts—and any impact on local councils has been factored into those figures. The member for Herbert should get those facts to his local council.

When the member for Herbert is thinking about the impact on his community of the needs of our future economy, which includes a clean energy future in which we are sharing the proceeds of the resources boom, he might also like to talk to the local mayor about how to get to a clean energy future in the cheapest possible way—that is, with the government's plan, not the Leader of the Opposition's plan—and he might want to talk to the local mayor about how good it would be for local economic activity if businesses large and small got a tax cut. That is our plan, and the member for Herbert is opposed to it, alongside the Leader of the Opposition. He might also ask the local mayor how he would feel about the ratepayers—working people, people with families, pensioners—receiving extra money, because under our government they will and the Leader of the Opposition wants to rip that money out of their hands.

Townsville is a regional city which has an economy that is going well, and that is fantastic. But economic growth brings pressures for infrastructure and, through the minerals resource rent tax, we are in a position to fund vital infrastructure that the member for Herbert is opposed to, even though the people who live in his constituency will be using it.







Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:28): Mr Speaker, my supplementary question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister apologise to the ratepayers of Townsville and ratepayers all around Australia for saying before the election, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead' and betraying that promise to save her political skin?

The SPEAKER: The supplementary question is ruled out of order.