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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 6977

Carbon Pricing

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister and refers to the already flagged increase in rates in the Knox, Mitcham and Bendigo councils due to the world's biggest carbon tax, set to start at $23 a tonne. My question is: how much will council rates escalate when the carbon tax escalates to $350 a tonne?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:00): This is part of the scare campaign that is continuing from the Leader of the Opposition. The impact of 0.7 per cent, less than 1c in the dollar, is something that he continues to deny, and he continues to go around Australia running a scare campaign by exaggerating every possible price increase and then multiplying it by 10. So that is what we are getting in the case of councils. The fact of the matter is this: we will get through this introduction of a carbon price with a strongly growing economy, with strongly growing employment and with price rises which are entirely consistent with the Treasury modelling.

We have had some further support today, because the opposition has been asking us questions about what has been going on internationally and whether our price here is inappropriate compared to what has been going on internationally. Overnight we have had the IMF put out a report which says the IMF confirms that a starting price for carbon pricing should be around the level set by the government in our Clean Energy Act. It goes on to say that Australia, again, is a very good model. The IMF says, yet again, that this is the least-cost way of putting a price on carbon pollution.

What we have is the opposition leader going back to his wrecking ball tactics. He walked away from them last week, and then he said: 'No, it's not going to be a cobra strike. Now it's going to be like being squeezed by a python.' But of course what we know is that he is just like that old snake oil salesman out there selling his snake oil, telling everybody: 'It'll be good for you. Buy some more.' Unfortunately, the public are not buying this argument, not buying their exaggeration of the price impacts. We are providing adequate assistance to households to deal with price increases, including when it comes to councils. If councils are out there exaggerating the impact, they will be paying for that activity and they will face the results with their ratepayers.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:03): Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Can the Acting Prime Minister confirm that the government's own modelling shows that the carbon tax will rise to $131 real or $350 nominal? Can he confirm that is exactly what the government's own modelling says on page 18 of the modelling document?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:03): That has all been published by the government.

Mr Abbott: Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to table this document confirming that there is no scare whatsoever—

Mr Albanese: To coin a phrase to the Leader of the Opposition, no.

Leave not granted.