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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14469

Ms LANDRY (CapricorniaAssistant Minister for Children and Families) (15:37): I must say that this is an interesting topic for those opposite to choose. The issue of a changing climate is a very big one and even bigger for the government of a small country to influence. Everyone knows that if Australia were to cut its emissions entirely, the planet's climate would not be altered. This would represent an enormous destruction of our quality of life and see the end of Australia as a world leader in anything. Climate change is a global issue and one that this Liberal-National government is acutely attuned to. We are going to meet our Paris targets in a canter, doing so without the extensive job losses that a carbon tax would deliver under a Labor government. We are doing our bit as a nation and will continue to do so in an entirely responsible manner.

So why do those opposite raise this topic this week? I'm afraid it's the old magician's trick: distraction. Those opposite simply don't want us to talk about tonight's budget, because it's going to open a wound they can't handle. Labor are terrified today of accidentally uttering the s-word—surplus! I can understand their reluctance. I wouldn't want to discuss something my side of politics had failed to deliver in the past 30 years. It must be a very sore point indeed.

I wonder whether those opposite have ever wondered what it takes to deliver a surplus. I'm not sure that they would have. I am not the world authority on government budgets, but I do know a bit about balancing books. If you are in government and want to deliver a surplus, I'll tell you a couple of things that you don't do. You don't squash your revenue by introducing $200 billion in extra taxes on the economy that supports the nation. You don't demonise the resources sector that puts the food on the table for thousands of Queensland families and for state and federal governments. You don't skimp on delivering real job-creating infrastructure. You don't run off on vanity requests designed to satisfy the do-gooders in the almond-latte belt, at the expense of the livelihoods of the lifters of our nation, who bend their backs and produce something. And you don't write bogus cheques with borrowed money for programs with uncertain outcomes.

Deputy Speaker, you may have heard that list and thought to yourself, 'Hey, these are all things that Labor do,' and you'd be correct. You'd also be correct to remember it was way back in 1989 when Labor last produced a budget surplus. Many in the gallery today, and even some in the staff ranks in this place, wouldn't remember that event. It has been a long time.

And so we come back to Labor's ridiculous failure on climate change. Those opposite no doubt think they are striking a blow by talking about renewable targets, electric cars and stopping emissions. This is not a climate plan; it is a climate tax, pure and simple. We already know that Labor's 45 per cent emissions target was going to result in a $9,000 hit to wages and more than 300,000 out of a job and that it was going to see wholesale electricity prices go up by 58 per cent. Now we know it will cost even more. Labor's vanity target could leave Australia $35 million poorer. I wonder whether those opposite are starting to realise why they never deliver budget surpluses.

Yesterday's announcement by those opposite reeks of the lack of economic sense and the arrogance that we have come to expect from that side of politics. To think that one of our nation's leaders would pin his hopes to what fuel people will use in their cars is laughable. Has the Leader of the Opposition ever driven through Central Queensland? Communities like Middlemount, Dysart and Clarke Creek are not quite as close together as Canberra and Queanbeyan. Has he ever had to wait a week for power to be reconnected after a storm? These are the realities for many in my neck of the woods, and until such time as technology catches up with their needs Central Queenslanders need to keep the right to choose the vehicle that best suits them.

I'm certainly not anti EV—it's quite exciting technology. I just can't see that those opposite have thought of all Australians when developing their policy. The saddest thing of all is that our hardworking coalminers have lost their jobs. After our farmers and graziers have had their production cut back to primitive levels and after households have been forced to disconnect from the power grid, it would all be for nothing. All of these measures put together won't make a jot of difference to the temperature of the planet. This is why Labor's plan is such a ridiculous one. It is tied up with spending money and signalling virtue instead of actually delivering outcomes.

Those opposite would rather ignore the truth than keep our economy strong so we can better ride out whatever blips come across our radar as a nation. This Liberal-National government is certainly not about to follow every whim of those opposite, and I'm proud to be part of a team that can get on with the job of creating jobs and, at the same time, looking after the environment. (Time expired)