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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1930

Carbon Pricing

Mrs ANDREWS (McPherson) (14:29): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. I refer the minister to this bill that shows that, following the introduction of the carbon tax, Central Engineering's electricity costs have increased at an estimated $3,000 a year. How will Central Engineering and other businesses benefit from the abolition of the carbon tax, and how will reducing the cost burden on the economy grow jobs?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for the Environment) (14:30): I understand the member for McPherson is concerned, as is her constituent from Central Engineering, about over-inflated electricity bills—about puffed-up electricity bills—and we are determined to do something about over-inflated electricity bills. Let me make this point: Central Engineering has been hit with a $3,000 impact—on the best advice that we have available—precisely because of the carbon tax, which those on the other side of the chamber say they are opposed to but which those on the other side continue to support through their votes and their actions.

But Central Engineering is not alone. Central Engineering is one of tens of thousands of small businesses around Australia affected by the carbon tax. The Australian Industry Group has noted that approximately 14½ per cent represents the average increase in energy costs as a result of the carbon tax for their manufacturing businesses.

Mr Albanese interjecting

Mr HUNT: It is great to hear from you! You wanted a zero carbon tax. Captain Zero, over there, is back. He wanted a zero carbon tax, but for six months. What a great achievement—

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat, as will the Manager of Opposition Business. I remind the minister to refer to members by their proper titles.

Mr HUNT: I respect your admonition. Our good friend over there, the member for Grayndler, when he was vying to be the Leader of the Opposition, wanted a zero carbon tax for six months, when it would go straight back up to $38. That is the great deceit in this debate. The opposition want to change its name, but in every respect it is the same carbon tax with a different name. They took to the election a tax which, according to their own pre-election economic forecast, will hit $38 within five years.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will withdraw.

Mr HUNT: I want to repeat this: their tax, with a different name, would amount to $38 within five years. That is why the head of Origin Energy wants it gone. That is why the head of Alinta Energy says that they will pass through the entire reduction in electricity prices. That is why the head of AGL has also said that they will pass through all of the electricity costs. That is why the had of the ESAA—the Electricity Supply Association of Australia—has said that they will pass through all of the electricity costs as a result of the abolition of the carbon tax. That is why the head of the ACCC has said that what goes up can come down and will come down—in other words, over-inflated electricity bills will come down. So for Central Engineering there is relief in sight, and that relief will come when the Senate votes to repeal the carbon tax. In the meantime there is a go-slow in the Senate. Stop the go-slow, get out of the way and allow the carbon tax to be removed.