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ABC News Breakfast -

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KENNEDY: For more we're joined now from Canberra by the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet.
Mr Combet thanks for your time. Now if you've overcome the major differences within that
Multi-Party Committee, why don't you release details of the carbon tax today or tomorrow, to leave
aside any further uncertainty?

COMBET: Well we will release of course, all of the details this coming Sunday, so it's only a few
days away but there are still some loose ends to tie up in coming days. But some of the elements of
the package, of course the Government has confirmed, and of course we will be offering tax cuts and
transfer payments to families, increases in pensions to assist households. And of course we've also
confirmed that the carbon price won't apply to petrol, so they're important commitments that will
help households. But all of the details will be available on Sunday.

KENNEDY: So what do you need to do between now and Sunday?

COMBET: Well I can assure you this is a large announcement with many different loose ends that need
to be tied up so we've got a fair bit of work to do just to get to Sunday.

KENNEDY: And are you confident that all of those members of that Multi-Party Committee will be
endorsing what you announce on Sunday?

COMBET: Oh yes. All of the substantive matters have now been agreed, and of course we wouldn't have
gone ahead and indicated we'd be announcing all of the details on Sunday if everyone wasn't
satisfied as to that. So yes, all the members of the Multi-Party Committee will be supporting the
announcement on Sunday. And an awful lot of work of course has gone on, but as you said in your
introduction, it's a very important reform for the country we need to do it for future generations.

The science is clear, and the scientific advice to the Government is clear that we do need to be
cutting our carbon pollution and playing a responsible part internationally with other nations to
cut pollution so that we can tackle the threat that climate change represents. And so it will be a
very detailed package on Sunday that the community will have the opportunity to consider.

KENNEDY: Now are you regretful of the process that you've gone through to arrive at this point, I
mean communicating your message and what you're playing to the public?

COMBET: Well it is a large reform so it's understandable, and I think quite legitimate, that
there's been a lot of community debate about it. We've been through a process of course of working
the details through with the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, which includes of course
Independent members of the House of Representatives and the Greens, and I guess the significance of
that process and of reaching agreement, is that the package we announce on Sunday is capable of
being legislated. That is, that it does have the capacity to pass through both Houses of Parliament
and become law. So it is very important that that process has been undertaken.

Along the way there has been a lot of consultation with various stakeholders, including in the
business community, and of course I think you'd have to say there's been a fair bit of community
debate. I'm sure that people will find when we announce the details on Sunday that the impact on
the cost of living in fact will be quite modest. Nothing like the sort of fear campaign that Tony
Abbott is suggesting, you know, in terms of its impacts on prices will be realised. And in fact of
course Tony Abbott's already been found out now, he's gone around trying to scare people about
rising petrol prices for months, and of course now we've confirmed that petrol prices will not
increase as a result of the carbon price.

KENNEDY: But there was uncertainty, and not only from the Opposition but many people who just
weren't sure about whether the tax would apply to them. I'm talking about business owners, people
with slightly bigger than small business owners, people with transport costs and so on. So it
wasn't crystal clear when the Prime Minister mentioned fuel on the weekend.

COMBET: Well actually we've been saying for months now that of course this is not a tax on
households or a tax on small businesses. It's a charge that will be paid by less than a thousand of
the largest polluters in our economy. That is the companies and organisations that emit the largest
amounts of pollution will have to buy a permit for every tonne of pollution that they produce.
That's what a carbon price is, and it's not a direct tax on households. But of course we've
indicated that there will be price impacts as these costs are passed through from the large
polluters. But we've committed that more than half of the revenue raised from the carbon price,
paid by those large polluters, will be used to assist households. And of course we'll do that
through tax cuts, increases to the pension and other family payments, not having a carbon price
applied to petrol for example. We're very mindful of the pressure families are under and we've
structured the package accordingly, and I think people will see that it is a generous household
assistance package, and in fact though that the costs in any event will be quite modest.

KENNEDY: There's been so much for people to try to comprehend regarding this carbon tax, and it's I
guess, it doesn't make it any clearer for people when the Greens come out and say something like
never say never about petrol exemption. It's difficult I guess, what do you say about that, and are
the Greens on board with everything you are going to announce?

COMBET: Well we've got an agreement that we'll be announcing on Sunday, and as I say, we've got
some loose ends to tie up, but there is an agreement on these matters, and petrol is out. I think
that's something the Greens historically had not supported. They're supporting it on this occasion,
in this agreement, and that's the right thing to do because a lot of people of course are
struggling to make ends meet. The Government's been particularly mindful of that pressure and we
wanted to try and make sure that people don't face an increase at the petrol pump when they're
going up to fill up their car and that's a commitment that we're going to deliver on.

KENNEDY: Greg Combet how important is Sunday for the future of your Government?

COMBET: Well this is a very important reform and I think people would recognise that the
Government's showing a lot of courage in prosecuting this case for this reform.

KENNEDY: But will you be able to explain it to the people well enough so that you're Government can
continue on and make the changes that you want to see happen?

COMBET: Well obviously that's our responsibility, to explain it to the Australian community. And
when we've got all of the detail out we'll be working very hard to achieve that objective because
we want people to understand it and to support it. But it is a very important reform for the long
term future of our country. We do need to cut pollution. We've got to change the way that we
generate energy so that we're producing energy in much cleaner ways.

So it's a very significant change and it means that Australian's can certainly hold their head up
high in the international community because we would be playing a responsible part in tackling
climate change. And we have to remember that Australian's are the largest polluters in the
developed countries, per person, and in absolute terms we're one of the top twenty polluters
internationally and other countries that are taking action on climate change and cutting their
pollution of course also expect us to share in the responsibility. And we do need to meet that
responsibility, and do it, importantly in the most efficient way, the least cost way in our
economy. And what we'll be announcing on Sunday will be an emissions trading scheme ultimately.
That is the least cost way for us to reduce pollution in our economy, and that will be very
important.

KENNEDY: Well all Australian's will wait, or most Australians will wait with baited breath until
Sunday, and hear from you again. Thanks for your time this morning Greg Combet.

COMBET: No worries, thanks very much Paul.

ENDS