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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 7979

Carbon Pricing

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:10): I have a question to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that the RSPCA will be forced to cut services to cover the costs of the carbon tax, estimated at $180,000 a year? Why is the Prime Minister failing to compensate some of Australia's household name charities and forcing them to cut their services as a result of the carbon tax?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:10): As I have already advised the parliament earlier today, the Leader of the Opposition was out trying to scare cats and dogs. He has moved on from human beings and now he is trying to scare animals. Presumably tomorrow he will be out trying to scare Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, and the day after he will be out trying to scare Puff the Magic Dragon, and so it will go on. To the Leader of the Opposition, whose fear campaign is growing truly more ridiculous day by day, can I advise him of the following facts, which his fear campaign, as usual, ignores. The Leader of the Opposition has never run into a fact that he was not prepared to discard in pursuit of his fear campaign, including trying to scare people at the RSPCA. The facts of the matter are these: we initiated in our carbon pricing package—our Clean Energy Future package—a $300 million fund, the Low Carbon Communities program, which is there to assist local councils and community organisations to adapt their energy use. We are encouraging charities like the RSPCA to consider applying for a grant under these programs.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The member for Sturt is warned.

Ms GILLARD: I am, in fact, advised that the RSPCA did not apply for the first round of the Community Energy Efficiency Program, which is part of the Low Carbon Communities program. I would certainly encourage the RSPCA to apply at a future time. This is a dedicated stream of funds to assist our not-for-profit sector, who do such great work. But the Leader of the Opposition, in raising this question today and in his media appearances a little bit earlier today, should not be trying, on top of all of the fear he has already tried to raise in the community, to generate this kind of fear amongst those who do great work in our not-for-profit sector. To the Leader of the Opposition I say: this fear campaign is growing truly ridiculous, and there is no better example than this one today.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:13): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Can the Prime Minister confirm that, of the 298 applications to the fund she referred to, only 63 received funding and 235 missed out? Why should the charities of Australia believe anything that this Prime Minister tells them?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The last part of the question is ruled out of order.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:13): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for confirming that there is a stream of funds to assist charities. I hope that when he was out at the RSPCA today he explained to the RSPCA that there is that stream of funds available. I hope that he did not say to anybody at the RSPCA, or to anybody publicly through his media appearance, that there was no support available for charities or that the RSPCA was not eligible for support. I hope he did not mislead people when he was outside the parliament, given that he has now come into the parliament and confirmed that the government has made provision to assist the not-for-profit sector. To the Leader of the Opposition—

Mr Abbott: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It was a simple question: why did almost 80 per cent of these charities miss out on funding?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The Prime Minister is answering the question and has the call.

Ms GILLARD: This is a fund to which people can make application before being assessed. The RSPCA did not make an application in the earlier round. I certainly encourage them to do so in the future and I thank the Leader of the Opposition for coming into this parliament and undermining today's media stunt by himself. In fact, his fear campaign is now getting so hollow he cannot even manage to believe it for two hours in a row.