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Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12816

Carbon Pricing

Mr GEORGANAS (HindmarshSecond Deputy Speaker) (15:05): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Minister for Industry and Innovation. Minister, the carbon price has now been in place for almost four months. We saw a lot of predictions and claims in the lead-up to it. Will the minister update the House on its impact, which of the predictions were proven and which ones were not?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (15:05): I would like to thank the member for Hindmarsh for his question. It is important to remind the House that the Treasury modelling of the impact of the carbon price showed that the price impact would add 0.7 per cent to the CPI in financial year 2012-13. That was the Treasury modelling, and it has been mentioned many times.

Following the release of the September quarter CPI figures last week, some economists are in fact predicting that the impact will be less than that forecast by the Treasury. For example, the Commonwealth Bank senior economist Michael Blythe said the following: 'It is looking as if the Treasury's figure will be an overestimate rather than an overestimate.' And that is very good news for Australian households, recipients of tax cuts funded by the carbon price, recipients of pension increases funded by the carbon price, recipients of family tax benefits funded by the carbon price—all good news.

But of course the most notorious prediction came from the Leader of the Opposition about the price impacts of carbon pricing. He has travelled the country claiming time and time again that there would be unimaginable price rises on—you name it; just think of any commodity: meat pies, sausage rolls, tomato sauce, Weet-Bix, fish fillets, wetsuits, anything! Unimaginable price impacts were predicted by the Leader of the Opposition.

We know that he is not real good on forecasting the stock market, but he is even worse with regard to the CPI. Now that the September quarter CPI figures are in, we can do a few price checks. The Leader of the Opposition went to Sanitarium's Weet-Bix factory, for example, and claimed that prices would be much, much higher. But the CPI figures show that in fact breakfast cereal prices fell by 0.9 per cent in the first three months of the carbon price. The Leader of the Opposition went to a dairy farm. He said that the price of milk would go through the roof, that milk would be unaffordable. The CPI figures for the September quarter showed milk prices down 0.5 per cent.

Senator Barnaby Joyce, that great soothsayer, a sage and a seer, said that a lamb roast would cost $100 after the carbon price came in. Lamb prices were down 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of the carbon price coming into effect. Lamb prices are down. The opposition leader claimed that motorists would not be able to get into their cars—another mendacious claim. There is no carbon price on fuel at all. A totally mendacious claim!

It is time that the Liberal Party moved on from the DLP leadership and that the Liberal Party became a Liberal Party once again. Give the member for North Sydney a go; give the member for Wentworth a go. They are both starters. There are a couple of roughies there. I like the member for Menzies for the job. He has put up his hand before. Put someone else on who can tell the truth. (Time expired)