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Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Page: 10995

Carbon Pricing


Mr MATHESON (Macarthur) (14:09): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to Quest apartments in Campbelltown, whose highest use electricity rate has almost doubled as a direct result of the carbon tax. Its manager, Mark Drinkwater, states: 'A carbon tax will mean a cost of $10,000 each year for our business. Passing on that cost to our customers is very difficult.' Because they get no compensation, does the Treasurer expect tourism operators like Mark to absorb these extra costs or increase prices?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:10): This is another example of the old scare campaign that we have been seeing in this House for the past 12 months.

Ms Julie Bishop: You're just making it up as you go along.

Mr SWAN: You certainly have been making it up, and that has been proven. You have been in here day after day, week after week, exaggerating prices, exploiting households and businesses for your own political gain. It is just part—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. How is it relevant for the Deputy Prime Minister to denigrate Aussie small business men like Mark Drinkwater rather than answer the question he was asked?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Treasurer has the call and will refer to the question.

Mr SWAN: One of their favourite tactics has been to be misleading about electricity price increases and attribute the increases to the carbon price when in fact they go to other factors—overinvestment in poles and wires principally by state governments that are withdrawing huge dividends from those organisations at a cost to businesses and households in those states. But of course that is never, ever acknowledged by those opposite, because it is too inconvenient for their political purposes.

But we all know that this scare campaign has hit the wall—we know that. We know it is running out of steam. We see the end of the campaign in the House, but it has run out of steam out there because those people out there living in the community are on to you. They understand that electricity price increases have principally been caused by other factors rather than by the carbon price.

But also we have today this commentary from the Reserve Bank in the Reserve Bank minutes. It makes this point:

Liaison suggested that the introduction of the carbon price had not yet had a significant effect on downstream price pressures—

Mr Hockey: Not yet! It's still coming.

Mr SWAN: I see: it is still coming. It is not involved in that question over there. Okay, we get that! How does that work? The RBA continues:

… with only isolated examples of suppliers attributing price increase to the carbon price. There was no evidence that the carbon price had raised medium-term inflation expectations.

Mr Matheson: I seek to table a document with the detailed charges for Quest apartments.

Leave not granted.

Mr Albanese: I table 'Howard commits to emissions trading scheme' from the Melbourne Press Club.

Mr Randall: You abuse the parliament when you do that.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Canning is abusing the parliament just now. The member for Canning and everybody can refer to the statement I read from the Speaker last night in Hansard.