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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11473


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (19:40): It is interesting listening to members opposite. In particular I refer to those members who have spoken about the impact of this legislation on industry around Australia. I want to respond to a couple of comments made firstly by the member for Moncrieff, who earlier on was referring to the 1½ per cent that Australia contributes to total global emissions and the five per cent reduction target on the year 2000 levels by the year 2020. The member for Moncrieff criticised that target of a five per cent reduction on the year 2000 levels by 2020 saying that it was only five per cent. He conveniently neglected to say that it represents about 23 per cent on business as usual levels if we did nothing. It is in fact quite a significant decrease in emissions by the year 2020. Here is the irony of his comments: he also neglected to point out that his own party have set an equivalent target. If you are going to come in here and criticise the target of five per cent reduction by the year 2020 and your own party has adopted it, what does that say about your own credibility?

Quite frankly, the member for Moncrieff also omitted to talk about the impact of the policies that his leader has put to this House as an alternative to achieving those targets. If you believe that we ought to achieve those targets then you must have a strategy to do so. We have heard about their strategy, and their strategy will cost households about $1,300 a year as opposed to $9.90, or around $500, which is the cost of this legislation—in other words, more than twice as much. What impact will that have on the industries and the businesses that he claims and purports to be concerned about?

I want to talk about another aspect which the member for Moncrieff also conveniently failed to refer to. It is a fact that climate change will impact on Australia's biodiversity and our ecosystems in this country. It is a point the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has made on numerous occasions in this place. It is such a serious matter that the Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and the Arts is inquiring into that very issue right now—that is, the impact of climate change on Australia's biodiversity and in turn our ecosystems. I want to quote from a statement made by the CSIRO, an organisation that I would expect would have credibility in this country and quite rightly so. I am referring specifically to the issue of Queensland. The CSIRO said:

In Queensland, fisheries are likely worth more than $200 million per year, mainly through the Great Barrier Reef system … and tourism is estimated to contribute $9.2 billion and employs 222,000 people …

That was based on a Tourism Queensland report of 2006. All of these industries and these ecosystems are at risk if we as part of the global world do nothing in respect of climate change. If the member for Moncrieff is genuinely concerned about the impact of this legislation on those business operators in Queensland, where is his concern when the fact is that, if we do nothing, the impact on their businesses will be even greater and there will be 222,000 people whose jobs are at risk?

In respect of the other point made by both the member for Moncrieff and the member for Wannon about the impact on businesses, again they pretend that we are working in isolation here. They conveniently ignore the fact that other countries with whom we compete have had a cost on their businesses since 1990. Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK have all had an indirect or direct tax system that impacts on industries in those countries, and you can break that down to a cost per tonne. So it is not as though we are acting in isolation and it is not as though we are not acting on a level playing field. It is a fact that, since 1990, we have been acting with an advantage because we have had no price per tonne on carbon in this country. Let us be honest when we start making comparisons with what is proposed in this legislation and what is occurring around the world. The reality is, as the Productivity Commission has quite rightly pointed out, that 89 countries that represent 80 per cent of the global emissions and nearly 90 per cent of the total GDP are already acting. (Time expired)