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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11238

Carbon Pricing

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (Braddon) (15:03): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Will the minister update the House on the impact of a carbon price on business, households and the economy? Minister, why is it important that fundamental economic reforms are accompanied by robust analysis?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (15:03): I would like to thank the member for Braddon for his question. As the Treasurer indicated yesterday, the Treasury has released the updated macroeconomic modelling of the carbon price. The updated modelling clearly shows that the economy will grow with a carbon price while we at the same time cut our emissions. The Treasury modelling makes absolutely clear that gross national income is projected to grow at 1.1 per cent per year to 2050 and employment will also grow strongly—in fact, 1.6 million new jobs are projected by 2020, with or without a carbon price. The economy will continue to perform very well under a carbon price. The modelling is independent. It provides a sound economic analysis that allows government to make reasoned, economically responsible policy decisions and choices.

That basis, and the basis upon which policy has been developed, contrasts very strongly with some of the quite ridiculous statements that have consistently misrepresented the economic impacts and the price effects of carbon pricing. The community has heard it said at various times: 'The hit on Australians' cost of living is almost unimaginable.' It has also been said:

… the carbon tax ultimately spells death for the coal industry …

And the community has heard:


a steelmaking town—

will be wiped off the map … Whyalla risks becoming a ghost town, an economic wasteland if this carbon tax goes ahead.

Statements like that are of course designed to deceive people; they fly in the face of evidence and facts, and they create fear, uncertainty and insecurity in the community. What is important in formulating any economic and environmental reform of the nature of a carbon price is that the policy decisions and the communications to the community more broadly are underpinned by facts and robust analysis.

The comments that I have quoted are attributed to the Leader of the Opposition. He is responsible for those statements, and they deserve to be tested against some of the facts. In relation to the price impacts, the Treasury modelling shows that the price impact is the equivalent of 0.7 per cent of the CPI, whereas of course the GST had an impact almost four times as great. And nine out of 10 household under the carbon price arrangements will receive assistance to meet those modest price impacts. In fact, an average of $10.10 per household per week will be received, compared to an average cost of $9.90 a week. This shows that the opposition's arguments are completely antithetical and this exposes the comments that the Leader of the Opposition has made as the rubbish that they are. But let's look at the coal industry and the facts in relation to that as well. The allegation made is that the industry will be destroyed; the fact is jobs will grow. Investment is growing—$70 billion of investment—19 new mines are coming. The statement made by the Leader of the Opposition is completely fallacious. In relation to Whyalla: not only has OneSteel stated that its operations at Whyalla are continuing and that the government has responded to the issues it raised but in fact new investments are to be made. The statements we have heard have caused fear, insecurity and uncertainty; they are completely fallacious and totally unbecoming of anyone in political leadership.