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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2516

Carbon Pricing

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayLeader of The Nationals) (14:14): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of Virgin Airline's announcement on Tuesday that it will increase ticket prices because of the government's carbon tax. Does the Prime Minister stand by her statement that the carbon tax will not hurt Australia's tourism industry when Virgin's carbon tax bill will be nearly 80 per cent higher than its current company tax bill and will add $45 million to the cost of its airline tickets in the first year alone?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:14): I thank the member for his question. It is very similar to one that I have answered in the past in relation to Qantas when it made some announcements and the answer is the same. Virgin Australia will not face any carbon price on its international operations in Australia. There will be a modest impact from the carbon price on its domestic operations. The nature of the impact is comparable to what has been announced by Qantas and I remind the House of those Qantas figures. I understand that the opposition is trying to yell at this point because they know they do not want these figures on the public record because they bring the scare campaign to an end.

It has been announced by Qantas that for zones of 900 kilometres or less, we are talking about $1.50 in impact, and so it goes on. If it is less than 2,000 kilometres, $3 on the average ticket price. That has been modelled in to the CPI impact of putting a price on carbon to 0.7 per cent. We have responded to that by increasing family payments, increasing pensions and cutting tax. To give the House the figures for that—and I know the opposition will not be interested in benefits to working families—there will be pensioners who end up in front as a result of the amount of money that comes to them in the increase in their pension. They will end up better off. We want to see pensioners better off; I understand the opposition does not.

There will be family payments increases in order to assist people with children—once again, a benefit to working families—and there will be tax cuts for Australians who earn less than $80,000 a year. Many of them will see a tax cut—

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will wait a minute. I know the point the Leader of the Nationals is about to make. The Prime Minister will return to the substance of the question.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am directly on the substance of the question because in order to view these claims in context one needs to direct their eyes as well to the amount of money that is flowing to families. I know the opposition always want to forget that because they have pledged to rip that money away. They do not want people looking at what is coming through tax cuts and pension increases and money for families because they have pledged to rip it away. The reality is the impact on airlines that the member has raised is modelled into the price impacts and people are receiving compensation in the form of tax cuts, family payments increases and pension increases. No amount of fear campaigning by the opposition changes that fact. I just wish they would be honest about ripping those benefits away and charging working families $1,300 per family in order to pay for their scheme. (Time expired)