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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 2316

Carbon Pricing

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:41): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Minister for Industry and Innovation. Will the minister update the House on the clean energy future package? How will the package assist families and households, and are there any threats to this?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:42): I thank the member for Moreton for his question because the government is getting on with implementing very important reforms, including our clean energy future package. Let's go back to the basics with this. The science is clearly telling us that we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Other countries are moving to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. It has been agreed internationally that a new treaty will come into place from 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and this country must be part of that effort. In the meantime, 90 countries have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

This government is getting on with an environmental and economic reform that this country needs to make. As our package is introduced, working families, and pensioners in particular, will be looked after. The household assistance package will mean a number of things. In particular, it will mean that nine out of 10 households will receive tax cuts or increased payments, or both. Age pensions will increase by $338 a year for a single pensioner and $510 a year for a pensioner couple. There will be advance payments for pensioners and many others. A single pensioner, for example, will receive $250 in an up-front payment in May-June of this year. Many self-funded retirees will receive assistance equal to the extra payments that the government will provide to other pensioners, part-pensioners and carers. Over four million households will receive 20 per cent more than the expected price impact flowing from the introduction of a carbon price on their household type. The tax cuts will be delivered by a trebling of the tax-free threshold, in itself a very important reform and one that will assist many small business people who are not incorporated. The change to the tax-free threshold will also free up to one million people from having to lodge a tax return. That in itself is a huge reform of the taxation system.

With other wider government measures, small businesses will be supported by a cut in the company tax rate to 29 per cent, by the instant asset write-off of up to $6,500 per asset that is acquired, and by many other measures that will support businesses and households achieve changes under the clean energy package. This government is getting on with important reform, tackling climate change and supporting households at the same time. This is Labor. We do the tough economic and environmental reforms and at the same time we look after social equity. The opposition do not.