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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1064

WYATT ROY (Longman) (15:31): The repeal of Labor's carbon tax demonstrates a new government on the front foot, a government which was elected with a clear and absolute mandate to liquidate the carbon tax. The Australian people have spoken, and this government is determined to give swift or, should the need arise, resolute effect to their voice. For, while the Labor Party seems set on playing some obstructionist political game or is otherwise bizarrely committed to hurting Australian families and businesses through higher electricity and gas prices, the coalition government will see this through. We will not stop until this toxic tax is disposed of. The reasons are simple, painfully simple.

With the carbon tax, the Australian people have been in equal parts mugged and taken for mugs. Julia Gillard declared there would be no carbon tax under a government she led. Later, her predecessor-cum-successor, Kevin Rudd, would proclaim that he had 'terminated' the carbon tax—another false utterance from the former Labor Prime Minister. Now we have the Leader of the Opposition on the one hand saying that he indeed intends to 'terminate' the carbon tax, yet at the same time he proposes to oppose the government's repeal of legislation that would satisfy this very objective. Work that one out.

Australians are tired of trying to work out or work through this unfathomable labyrinth of lies from those opposite. They are weary of the hubris and spin, while the reality of the carbon tax comes home to them every day. These families, pensioners, retirees and small businesses have all seen their electricity and gas bills surge. That the carbon tax has been a chief contributing factor is beyond question. Right from October 2012, with the release of the first quarterly consumer price index figures following its inception, we have felt it. Those numbers revealed an immediate 15.3 per cent rise in electricity prices, while the cost of household gas and miscellaneous fuel jumped by 14.2 per cent. The hike in these quarterly bills was the largest we have ever seen.

My electorate of Longman lies about 45 minutes north of Brisbane, where the big employers are retail, small business, tourism and light industry. In the 12 months prior to this year's federal election, business after business showed me the face of genuine fear, and, in every instance, the carbon tax was central to their anguish. One shop owner in Burpengary told me of surrendering $1,300 a month in higher input costs associated with the carbon tax. Another key local manufacturer forecast a $30,000 rise in electricity charges directly attributable to the carbon tax. And a Caboolture based refrigerated fruit and vegetable carrier had been belted by a substantial increase in refrigerant gas costs due directly to the carbon tax. If the 44th Australian Parliament does not stop Labor's carbon tax from running to schedule and being applied to heavy vehicle diesel fuel from 1 July next year, this great local enterprise will be beaten up once again.

What ultimately emerges is a flow-on of the costs of the carbon tax for transport and storage to groceries, and every family will be paying more at the check-out. Unsurprisingly, these conditions have fanned a crisis of confidence, which, in turn, has knocked the health of the economy even more. During the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government, Longman's unemployment rate more than doubled, from 3.06 per cent to 7.86 per cent. The youth unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4.3 per cent to 11.4 per cent. New taxes and increasing taxes do not create more jobs. This is a tax that hurts jobs and pushes up the cost of living. There is a better way, a smarter way, a more successful way, and the coalition government is prepared to lead the way.