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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 6985

Carbon Pricing

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (14:31): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Minister for Industry and Innovation. Will the minister update the House on the forecast for the impact of the carbon price? What has the response been on the forecast, and how is the government helping households?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:31): I thank the member for Makin for his question. I am asked about forecasts about the impact of carbon pricing. Of course, that renowned forecaster of doom, the Leader of the Opposition, has claimed repeatedly that the cost impact would be 'unimaginable'. He has called it 'a deadly threat' with ramifications that are 'unthinkable'—it is beyond human capacity to think of what the implications could be! What nonsense; what rubbish. He has gone around the country saying all of this when it boils down to a very simple proposition: we are pricing carbon because it is the most economically efficient way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and of Australia playing a fair part in international efforts to tackle climate change, and all he has done is go around spreading rubbish. We know the cost impact. It was carefully modelled by the Treasury. It is 0.7 per cent impact on the CPI—less than 1c in the dollar—and, of course, the government will assist households with an average of $10.10 a week provided to households in assistance.

Now that we are turning from the coalition's fiction into fact about carbon pricing, it is instructive that state Liberal governments handing down their budgets are also providing forecasts of the impact of carbon pricing. The Victorian government's budget last month forecast that the carbon price will increase the CPI by 0.5 per cent in 2012-13; the Western Australian Barnett Liberal government in its budget said that it would be 0.7 per cent, which is bang on the Treasury forecasting; in the New South Wales budget—guess what?—it is entirely consistent with the Treasury modelling of 0.7 per cent impact on the CPI.

So here we have state coalition governments and state Liberal premiers completely repudiating the rubbish and nonsense that the opposition leader has spread around this country, just as the backbenchers ignored his warnings about the doom and gloom and the death of the coal industry and instead snapped up the investments. That is what they were doing while he was forecasting the death of the industry. Just as that was happening, state Liberal premiers are also abandoning all of the rubbish that has been spread. He is trying to run away from all these things. We can see the new campaign emerging—it is putting fear into people about 2050. It is all rubbish, and, at the end of the day, you will have no credibility left whatsoever.

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (14:34): Madam Deputy Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, you spoke about the importance of accurate information in this debate. Why is that particularly important in the light of recent claims about job losses?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:35): I thank the member for Makin once again. We have heard all about the deceit, and there will be plenty more of it to be revealed as the carbon price is implemented from 1 July. But perhaps the most reprehensible part of this deceitful campaign has been the opposition leader's attempts to exploit the anxiety of working people by threatening them about their jobs. Yesterday the opposition was at it yet again—Senator Brandis in particular. Up in the Senate, he directly attributed the loss of 1,900 jobs in Fairfax Media to the introduction of a carbon price in a totally deceitful, dishonest and completely untrue statement that he has still not withdrawn.

It is a complete disgrace, because everyone knows—and certainly all of the staff at Fairfax know very well—that digital technology is putting massive pressure on print media. The carbon price has absolutely nothing to do with the changes at Fairfax, just as the carbon price had nothing to do with the decision of Norsk Hydro to close the aluminium smelter at Kurri Kurri. It was not related to that issue, just as it has had nothing to do with the loss of jobs at Qantas or anywhere else. These people opposite relish the news of job losses so that they can blame them on the carbon price, and it is a disgrace.