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Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Page: 6175

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (22:10): I would like to reiterate the words of the member for Chifley and give my congratulations to the Socceroos for their qualification for Brazil. As a soccer player—I recently pulled the boots back on for another season—it is very heartening to see them succeed in that endeavour. As the member for Bowman has rightly pointed out, I also give my congratulations to the Brumbies for a terrific result tonight. It is a similar result to 2001, when the Lions last played in Canberra, so it is a terrific result there.

Seeing those games played at night-time is a wonderful chance to reflect on the fact that we as a society today cannot function without electricity. We could not power our homes, our businesses, our schools, our hospitals or, as tonight has demonstrated, our sporting fields. Unfortunately, over the past few years we have seen under this government that electricity prices have gone up some 94 per cent around the country. Gas prices have gone up another 62 per cent since the start of 2008. Families, pensioners, retirees, small businesses and sporting clubs have all seen their electricity and gas bills rise in part because of the carbon tax. They will see another rise of five per cent from 1 July.

Mr Kelvin Thomson interjecting

Mr VAN MANEN: I always appreciate the contribution of the member for Wills to any debate in this House.

In some households bedtime is at 5 pm because pensioners and underprivileged families cannot afford to pay to keep the lights on and in a cold winter heating is just not an option.

I am deeply concerned that some families in Forde are just one pay away from homelessness. This has been confirmed through a recent discussion with the Salvation Army in Beenleigh. I am concerned that the next increase of five per cent, which will take effect from 1 July, will affect everything along the supply chain from the manufacturer to the transport to the grocery store and put household budgets under increasing pressure and disarray.

I am also concerned that this increase will further rub salt into the wounds of our small business community, which has struggled for the last 12 months with the increased costs of doing business thanks to the carbon tax with no compensation. For example, there is Aarons Linen Service, a commercial dry cleaner at Meadowbrook in my electorate. I have seen the impact of the carbon tax on their electricity and gas prices. Their electricity costs have increased by some 22 per cent from $8,000 per month to nearly $11,500 per month. Their gas prices have increased some 10½ per cent from $45,000 to $58,000, which means they are paying an additional $8,700 a month—no thanks to the carbon tax. At this rate it would equate to being worse off by over $100,000 a year. Add to that another five per cent from 1 July and Aarons Linen will now have to find an additional $5,000 on top of that with no compensation.

This carbon tax will keep going up and up at a time when global carbon prices are falling. Electricity bills have been going up and up. A not-for-profit local homeless shelter, Sheltered by Grace, has come forward in a recent newspaper article saying their electricity bill has doubled in under four years. Since Labor came to power, we have seen the cost of living go up and up, and they have done absolutely nothing to ease the cost pressures faced by Australian small businesses, which employ more than 45 per cent of the national workforce. In addition, the carbon tax is hurting family budgets, putting jobs at risk and damaging the economy. The carbon tax is a bad tax based on a lie, and only the coalition will abolish the carbon tax. The choice in this election year is clear: a coalition government that will abolish the carbon tax, ease the cost-of-living pressures and create more jobs, or another three years of chaotic Labor, who have legislated even more increases in the carbon tax. (Time expired)