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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9250


Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (12:21): I thank the member for Canberra for her contribution because it gives me the chance to talk about what is probably the greatest island in Australia, Magnetic Island, which is off the coast of Townsville. The only reason Norfolk Island does not have exposure to the carbon tax is that they do not buy their diesel from Australia. If they bought their diesel from Australia, they would be exposed to the carbon tax. If you want to speak about compensation for all things carbon tax, I would like to speak about Magnetic Island. There is no compensation for the ferry and the barge that go to Magnetic Island. There will not be any compensation going to the people who live on Magnetic Island and commute on a daily basis to Townsville. The barge service that takes the goods and services across will not get any compensation for the carbon tax on the diesel that they burn, so the goods and services that they take across—the milk, eggs and basic commodities that go to Magnetic Island—will cost even more under the carbon tax.

We have had personal responses. Friends of mine had Le Paradis restaurant at Nelly Bay. It is a fantastic feed there and they are great people but they have struggled with the electricity price rises, and the carbon tax is just one of those things.

I want to talk about what the member for Parkes talked about—refrigeration mechanics and the distances that they have to travel. Madam Deputy Speaker Livermore, you would know all about this because of the distances in your electorate. Before the carbon tax, it would have cost a refrigeration mechanic between $3,000 and $5,000 to fully load his van to take on his road trips. Now, with the 300 per cent increase in the cost of refrigerants and the carbon tax applied to that, it costs up to $12,000 to fully equip a refrigeration van for the distances we travel. This is about regional centres. People from the cities have to understand how much more we do.

Madam Deputy Speaker, you would also know about the distances we travel when it comes to sport, dance, athletics and things like that. I remember a mate of mine, Billy Green. In the seventies he went to work in the Bank of New South Wales in Barcaldine. He played for Barcie, and they played against Winton. If they beat Winton in Winton, they used to run off the field and hop into their cars or onto the team bus—and they did not take their boots off or get changed until they hit Longreach. That is about an 800 kilometre round trip to play Winton in Winton and get the living daylights beaten out of them by those blokes up there, because they play tough. That team bus is now going to be subject to the carbon tax.

When parents take their kids to regional athletics, they will be subject to the carbon tax—all the team buses that go through everywhere. My nieces and nephews, when they travel from Ayr to all the swimming carnivals, are going to be subject to the carbon tax on the buses that they go on. All the cane farmers and small crop farmers around Townsville, the Burdekin and Hinchinbrook are price takers; they are not price makers. The price of sugar at the moment is quite good—we have a lot of things going on in the sugar market—but they are exposed to the carbon tax, while their competitors in Brazil and India are not.

When it comes to their weedkillers, insecticides, phosphate based fertilisers or the diesel they use in their tractors, they receive no compensation. This is something that we have to worry about in the regions all the time.

The length of time it takes to get power to the city from Gladstone to Townsville makes our power even more expensive. To top it all off, you have the Townsville City Council and the Townsville dump. The Labor state government forced amalgamation upon Townsville and Thuringowa. Townsville council had $104 million but now has only $34 million. Townsville City Council is still one of the 34 councils. I have asked the question before. If they had stayed as two separate dumps in Townsville and Thuringowa, would they be exposed to the carbon tax? At the moment, Townsville ratepayers are exposed to the expense of between $6 million and $9 million for the Townsville City Council dump. That is before the Townsville City Council turns on a light, starts a car, fills a pothole or anything like that. You must understand that these are real issues in the regions and will always be real issues in the regions. The council must either cut services or raise rates. It is not fair and it should be cancelled.