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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8715

Carbon Pricing

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (14:30): My question is to the Prime Minister and does not mention Sunday's game. I refer the Prime Minister to her statement on 20 August 2010:

I want to help families with the cost of living …

If the Prime Minister is to be believed, why did she put a carbon tax on power bills?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:31): I think there was an added cruelty, Madam Deputy Speaker, by the acknowledgement of Richmond and the tie, given Sunday's game and the margin involved! But I will answer the member's question on the cost of living for Australian families. Yes, as Prime Minister I am concerned about cost-of-living pressures on Australian families. That is why when we moved to price carbon we also ensured that we tripled the tax-free threshold so people earning less than $80,000 a year would see a tax cut. A number of part-time workers, many of them working women, will see a tax cut of $500. Many will see a tax cut of $300. People who are bringing up children who receive family payments have seen increases in those family payments. And, of course, we have built on our historic increases to the pension with more money for pensioners. These tax cuts, the pension increases and the family payment increases go on. That means that the majority of Australian households will come out either square or in front as a result of the arrangements we have made around carbon pricing.

But, of course, our cost-of-living concerns about families go well beyond that. That is why we moved away from the Howard government's system of supporting people with childcare costs to a new system where we meet 50 per cent of out-of-pocket costs and make a real difference to the cost of child care. That is why we have introduced the schoolkids bonus in its current form. It is so people see cash in their hand at the time that they need to go out and buy the kids things for school. That is why we are also promising increased family payments, funded by the minerals resource rent tax. Australians are entitled to see their share of this resources boom. That is why over a number of years we have provided tax cuts to people. It is in order to help working Australians with the cost-of-living pressures upon them. We will continue across the board to be working with Australian families to support them as they go about the hard job of raising children and the hard job of getting to work every day.

As a Labor government, we have a particular concern for those on low and fixed incomes. That is why things like the historic pension increase were so important to us. So, yes, cost-of-living concerns are very important to this government. We have assisted in a range of ways, and we will keep working on cost-of-living pressures, including the unnecessary costs of electricity that have driven prices up by 50, 60 and 70 per cent.