Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8385


Senator CORMANN (Western Australia) (17:31): This carbon tax will of course do nothing to prevent climate change from occurring. In fact, as we have argued before, this carbon tax in Australia, in the absence of an appropriate and comprehensive global agreement, might well worsen climate change to the extent that it will increase emissions in other parts of the world. I just want to go back to the question at hand, the question that the minister clearly does not want to answer: the impact of this carbon tax on our GDP. It is our job here in the Senate to get the government to answer some questions, and ultimately the Australian people should be able to have a say before an economic change of this magnitude is imposed on the Australian economy—which is, of course, what this amendment is all about.

The minister says that there is a cost of delay and that it is important to act now because, that way, action will be cheaper than it otherwise would be. That does not seem to be the conclusion of the Treasury modelling. If you compare the Treasury modelling of the impact of the carbon tax with the Treasury modelling of the impact of the CPRS, even though the government is now starting a couple of years later, accord­ing to the Treasury modelling, the cost of acting now, a couple of years later, compared to the cost of acting when the government put forward the CPRS, has actually gone down, if we are to believe the government's Treasury modelling. The cost is actually lower now than it would have been if we had acted three years ago, in 2008. If it is cheaper to act now than it was three years ago, how much cheaper is it going to be to act in three, five or 10 years time? Perhaps in other parts of the world they are not going to have the same difficulties, quite frankly, in transition­ing the economy from one which is very export oriented, which is very emissions intensive and which relies on a significant resource endowment as one of its competitive advantages. Why would we go ahead of the rest of the world to this extent when clearly the longer we wait the more costs are going down?

Back to the question at hand: given that the Treasury's own modelling—and the minister says she stands by the modelling—shows that, by 2050, GDP would be $100 billion lower that year alone than it would be without a carbon tax, and given that GDP will be lower every single year between now and 2050 than it would be without a carbon tax, has the minister assessed the cumulative impact on Australia's GDP? Is the minister aware of what the cumulative cost to Australia's GDP is going to be between now and 2050, according to the Treasury's own modelling? Does the minister know what that cost is in today's dollars?