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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Page: 7498

Carbon Pricing

Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (14:34): My question is to the Minister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Will the minister inform the House of recent investment decisions made by resource companies in the full knowledge of the carbon price coming in. Why is it important that policy to tackle climate change is driven by facts, not fear?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:35): I thank the member for Canberra for her question. The government is introducing a price on carbon because it is the most cost effective way of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions. And it will provide the long-term incentives for businesses to shift to low emissions technology and to bring more renewable energy into our grid.

If we do not make these changes we are in danger of being left behind. This was a point being made by the chief executive officer of Shell, Mr Peter Voser, who has welcomed the government's carbon price package. The opposition leader's dark forecasts of doom and gloom have not stopped Shell from committing to invest $30 billion in Australia over the next five years.

It is reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today that Mr Voser has confirmed that countries not acting to reduce emissions will fall behind. Far from being terrified by the forecasts of doom and gloom of the opposition leader—the reports also indicate something that has been known widely—Shell already uses a carbon price in their investment decisions. Apparently it is in the order of $40 a tonne. That is the basis upon which they are making investment commitments of $30 billion in the Australian economy over the next five years, notwithstanding all the investment advice from the Leader of the Opposition. Of course, the fact is that major resource companies have been pricing carbon into their investment decisions for quite a period of time. Those same resource companies are investing in Australia in the full knowledge of the government's clean energy package and the carbon price, starting on 1 July.

The Treasurer mentioned a moment ago in question time that Rio Tinto has just announced it is investing another approximately $4 billion in its Pilbara iron ore projects. This commitment represents a huge investment and it stands in complete contrast to the Leader of the Opposition's statements about the outlook for industries like iron ore. When he was visiting the Pilbara last year he talked about doom and gloom and said:

This carbon tax poses an increasing threat to so many of Australia’s great industrial areas and very important sectors of our economy.

That is the sort of thing he is saying, but what is going on in the real world? Multibillion-dollar investments; we are seeing massive new investments. Twiggy Forrest and Gina Rinehart do not listen to his investment advice. Rio Tinto is not listening to his investment advice. Shell is not listening to his investment advice, and neither are the backbench. They are still snapping up resources stocks, because they are good investments. It is all doom from him, but the real world has moved on from there. (Time expired)