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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5127

Ms MARINO (ForrestOpposition Whip) (16:31): Previously, I was warning that there may be additional businesses and entities in the south-west, other than those on the government's liable entities list, which may have to pay the carbon tax. This is the monumentally stupid and now infamous carbon tax, the carbon tax the Prime Minister and Treasurer both said we would not have. I remember that in the lead-up to the last election any suggestion by the coalition that Labor would introduce a carbon tax was described by the Treasurer as 'hysterical'. It is a tax which clearly is not an environmental plan but is a wealth distribution scheme to meet Labor's politics of envy and division of Australians.

I note that 104 local governments have also been approached by the Clean Energy Regulator in its search for new carbon tax targets, and it expects up to 70 per cent of them will pay up. This list of 104 includes two in my electorate—Collie and Harvey shires. This means that the people of Collie and Harvey may well be paying additional carbon tax directly via their power bills or indirectly through increased transport costs on all their goods and may well be paying the carbon tax again through increased shire rates.

When it comes to transport costs, there are other carbon hits. Regional communities have food delivered in refrigerated trucks and they will be hit with the diesel carbon tax in 2014. The refrigerant itself used to keep our food fresh will also be hit by the carbon tax. One large trucking company has already estimated their annual carbon tax cost for refrigerants alone at $180,000. This cost will either have to be absorbed by transport companies, many of which are still finding business quite tough, or be felt by businesses and families. Every refrigerated truck taking food to Australian families will now be the carbon tax collector for the Labor government. As time goes by, I have no doubt we will be inundated by other examples of businesses, families and communities being hit by more carbon taxes.

This is the tax the Treasurer called the very mention of, in the run-up to the election, 'hysterical'. We were hysterical to even mention that the Labor government would do this. We were hysterical, yet here we have it. This again is the tax about which the Prime Minister said only days before the election, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.' Let me tell you that rural and regional Australians know very well that there is a carbon tax and that they are going to pay disproportionately, particularly through transport costs. When the diesel fuel excise change happens, Australians who live in rural and regional parts of this country will pay disproportionately. Australian businesses, individuals and families will pay, and they will pay for the betrayal of this government. This is a budget of fake surpluses and smoke and mirrors accounting. This is the budget Labor has used to further divide the Australian people. As I said previously, business after business is going to be impacted by this tax. There are a lot of cool stores and cool rooms out there and there are a lot of farming businesses that will not be able to pass on that carbon tax. They will have to find some way within their businesses to absorb that additional cost. I see over and over again in my community that this will be a further impost on rural and regional Australia. It is clearly something that the government has given no consideration to—the additional impact of the carbon tax on rural and regional electorates like my own.