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Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Page: 7586

Carbon Pricing

Ms BURKE (Chisholm) (14:42): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Will the minister update the House on what a price on carbon pollution will mean for Australian households? How has this been received, and what is the government's response?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:43): I thank the member for Chisholm for her question. As the Prime Minister has announced, the government will be announcĀ­ing on Sunday its carbon price arrangements, and these will cut pollution and drive investment in clean energy and at the same time they will provide strong support for households and jobs. The carbon price, of course, is not a tax directly on households, but it is a price that will be paid by less than 1,000 of the largest polluters in the country. Some of these companies, of course, will pass on costs to consumers, which means that there will be a modest price impact for households.

Mr Billson: Which ones won't pass them on? Name one that will not pass them on.

The SPEAKER: The member for Dunkley is warned.

Mr COMBET: That price impact will be much less than that which was experienced at the introduction of the GST. The government will provide fair and generous assistance for those who need it the most, including pensioners and low- and middle-income households. These will be the government's priority in delivering houseĀ­hold assistance. The government has already committed, and we will deliver these commitments, that more than 50 per cent of the carbon price revenue will be used to assist households, that millions of households will be better off under the carbon price arrangements, that the assistance—contrary to the scare campaign being run by the Leader of the Opposition—will be permanent.

It will mean that, under the carbon price arrangements, nine out of 10 households will get a combination of tax cuts and increased payments. Pensioners will benefit from a rise in the pension and around 280,000 self-funded retirees will receive assistance equal to the extra payments that we will provide to cover pensioners, part-pensioners and carers. Three million Australians will also get a 20 per cent buffer over and above the full average cost of the carbon price to give them some extra room to move and families, tradespeople and small businesses with light commercial vehicles will not face a fuel price rise as a result of the introduction of a carbon price. All of these commitments completely contradict and condemn the scare campaign run by the Leader of the Opposition.

This is a package that will be good for the environment and good for the economy and, importantly for a Labor government, this will be a good package for Australian households and families. In contrast, the greatest threat to Australian households and families is from the Leader of the Opposition. He has been angry throughout this entire campaign period: does not like the scientists, does not like the economists and now he has got his sights set on households.

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister will bring his answer to a conclusion.

Mr COMBET: The Leader of the Opposition has made absolutely clear—

The SPEAKER: The minister will conclude.

Mr COMBET: that with all these improvements he will claw them back at the same time as he will impose a $720—

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister will resume his place. The minister has concluded.