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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 149

Carbon Pricing


Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (14:25): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Is the minister aware that the electricity generator Macquarie Generation, owned by the people of my state of New South Wales, has a net carbon tax expense of $299 million in 2012-13 and its value has been written down by $1 billion due to the previous government's carbon tax? Minister, has the carbon tax been terminated? And further, what action is this government taking to reduce electricity prices?


Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for the Environment) (14:25): Madam Speaker, may I congratulate you on your appointment. I am sorry to say that the carbon tax has not been terminated, despite what some would have led the Australian people to believe before the election. I am sorry to say that there are those who still oppose termination of the carbon tax, despite giving lip-service to the pretence that they would support it. I am sorry to say that the member for Hughes is absolutely correct in his assessment of the impact of the carbon tax on Macquarie Generation.

Let me quote from the New South Wales Auditor-General's report to parliament. Do you know what the Auditor-General reported to parliament in New South Wales on the impact of the carbon price? They reported:

The introduction of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Act 2011 (the Act) resulted in the Corporation—

that is Macquarie Generation—

incurring a net carbon tax expense of $299 million in 2012-13. A $1.0 billion write down—

I just want to repeat that: 'a $1 billion write-down'—

to the value of its infrastructure assets in 2011-12 …

So those on the other side of the House led to a $1 billion write-down in the value of a public asset. That goes to the ability of New South Wales to help deal with funds for hospitals, for schools and for community services. They are responsible through their carbon tax. So not only does the carbon tax have an electricity effect; it also has a community effect.

There is a better way—the member for Hughes is right. We will repeal the carbon tax. That will have a $550-a-year impact on Australian households. You are standing between Australian households and that $550. It will have, according to the Australian Treasury, a $200-a-year impact on electricity bills. According to the Energy Supply Association, those costs will be reduced as soon as the Australian parliament passes the legislation and it comes into effect. According to Rod Sims of the ACCC, what goes up can come down just as quickly. It is absolutely clear that we can reduce the electricity bills of Australian families. It is absolutely clear that the former government did enormous damage, not just to the competitiveness of Australian business and not just to the cost of living for families but also to the value of public assets for New South Wales. You should hang your heads in shame and get out of the way of repealing the carbon tax.