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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3762

Carbon Pricing

Mr NEVILLE (HinklerThe Nationals Deputy Whip) (14:36): My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware of findings of the Energy Users Association released today that show Queenslanders are paying amongst the highest prices for electricity of 91 countries and provinces surveyed? Does the Prime Minister really think it is fair to slug Queensland families and businesses with a carbon tax when they are already paying more for electricity than 27 countries of the EU, the United Kingdom and every state of the United States?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:37): To the member for Hinkler, perhaps I could use these words in answer to him: 'You can't reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless you have a price on carbon.' They are the words of John Howard on 27 May 2007. I think Prime Minister Howard was absolutely right. The member for Hinkler thought he was absolutely right too because he campaigned alongside him—

Mr Hartsuyker: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The question was quite clear: does the Prime Minister think it is fair to slug Queensland families with a carbon tax?

The SPEAKER: I heard the question. The Prime Minister has just started her answer and I am quite sure she is going to address the specifics of the question.

Ms GILLARD: I was referring to one eminent Australian who thought it was fair to put a price on carbon, that being former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard and his cabinet colleagues and backbench colleagues who campaigned alongside him for a price on carbon. Prime Minister Howard believed that because Prime Minister Howard, as I do, believes—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the specifics of the question.

Ms GILLARD: If, as I do, you believe we need to cut carbon pollution—and that is bipartisan politics in this parliament—then you have got to work out how to do it. The cheapest, most effective way to do it is to put a price on carbon.

Then, having put a price on carbon, you need to support Australian families as they go about their daily work, including Australian families as they go about paying their power bills. We have determined to do just that, to make sure that we use money that flows from a price being paid by companies that are generating carbon pollution to support Australian families, including the Queensland families that the member refers to. So, looking at an average family, they will receive assistance of more than $500 a year to deal with impacts flowing from putting a price on carbon. Many families in fact will end up with more assistance through tax cuts or family payments or pension increases than they need—that is, they will end up in front as a result of the government's scheme.

To the member who asked the question, I simply ask him to contemplate the alternative. He himself is a member of a political party committed to reducing carbon pollution by five per cent by 2020. I ask him: why does he want to do that in a way that is more costly for Queensland families? Why does he want to reject the advice of former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard about the most cost-effective way to do this? Like the Leader of the Opposition, he is committed to sending those families a $1,300 bill.