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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5843

Carbon Pricing

Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (14:47): Mr Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, how is a carbon price the best way to protect jobs, build a clean energy future and help lower our emissions? How is the rest of the world acting to combat climate change and how can Australia ensure we do not get left behind?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:47): I thank the member for Canberra for her question. The member for Canberra may be aware that today I took the opportunity to meet with some plumbers and electricians who work right here in Canberra, right here in the ACT. They came to Parliament House to give me a letter and to give me a very simple message—that is, they want to see us price carbon and they want to see us develop the low-emissions economy of the future. David Golack, the ACT General Manager of the Axis Plumbing Group, who came as well, said to me: 'There are going to be jobs created by the carbon price. There won't only be jobs created for tradespeople; there will also be a considerable knock-on effect for the people who train the tradespeople as well as the people who maintain compliance. We can see further work and job opportunities created as a result of a carbon price based on the green technology opportunities. There are tremendous opportunities ahead.' Those were his words as an employer of plumbers and an employer of apprentices.

The group was joined by Peter Tighe and Earl Setches from the electrical and plumbing divisions of the CEPU, representing around 80,000 plumbers and electricians. I note that, somewhat curiously, the opposition today appears to be dreadfully interested in the statements of union officials about carbon pricing. This is an opposition that in government never used the word 'union' unless it was in a sentence saying, 'How can we smash the union?' Remember the dogs and balaclavas of Peter Reith, who is now interestingly enough doing the Liberal Party review. One can only imagine the dogs-for-all policy that is going to come out of that. The only time they were interested in the word 'worker' was when they were putting it in a sentence to say, 'How can Work Choices rip pay off a worker?' But today they are pretending an interest in the words of unions, so let us listen to some from Peter Tighe and Earl Setches representing around 80,000 plumbers and electricians: 'Climate change is real and we are well placed to know that because in our industry we are providing the tools to meet the challenges. The costs of carbon pollution in this country have already been felt through water shortages, environmental degradation and pollution. A price on carbon will mean a further boom for jobs and more apprentices.' Those are their words.

Australia has to act on carbon pollution because we cannot afford to be left behind the standards of the world. The world is moving to create a clean energy future. We cannot afford to be left behind. On that topic so often misrepresented by the Leader of the Opposition, today I was very pleased to launch, with the minister for climate change, a new set of fact sheets which deal comprehensively with how the world is acting. I know the Leader of the Opposition does not like those inconvenient things called facts but they are now in three clear fact sheets for him. Can I say to the Leader of the Opposition, as we continue to talk about the facts, the science of climate change and the facts of pricing carbon, he is threatening Australians with a triple whammy. He wants to put a price on their fruit and vegies at Coles and Woolworths to fund his paid parental leave scheme, he wants to jack up their taxes in order to fund his ridiculous carbon pollution plans and he wants to claw back from Australian pensioners and Australian families the money we will give them in assistance, cutting the amount of money they have in their hands to meet their bills. We will get on with the job of doing the right thing to tackle climate change and to create the clean energy economy of the future.