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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Page: 327

Carbon Pricing

Mr CHRISTENSEN (DawsonThe Nationals Deputy Whip) (14:09): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. I remind the minister that regional areas have been hit hard by the carbon tax. In my electorate of Dawson, the carbon tax costs the Mackay Regional Council alone $1 million a year for its Hogan's Pocket Landfill site. How will scrapping the carbon tax impact upon ratepayers in Mackay and North Queensland?

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:09): My thanks to the member for Dawson for his question. I acknowledge his passionate advocacy for the people of North Queensland. The reality is that the carbon tax is hurting all Australians, but particularly those who live in regional communities, who pay more for everything as a result of this carbon tax. It is a tax that has been costing jobs. It has made our industry less competitive and, therefore, made our country less able to achieve its potential. It adds insidiously to the cost of everything that we do.

Even a visit to the dump costs more. As the member referred to, the Mackay Regional Council is paying about $1 million a year in carbon tax just on its Hogan's Pocket Landfill site—$1 million a year. That is no small amount, particularly for a regional city to pay. Sadly, there are 34 other communities across Australia that are also paying massive amounts of carbon tax on their landfill sites. If it generates more than 25,000 tonnes, they have to pay the carbon tax. Ironically, if it generates only 24,999 tonnes, they pay nothing, but for one extra tonne you are immediately up for a half a million dollars, and the amounts keep just going up and up.

Of course, there is only one thing councils can do in response to this million-dollar tax and that is to pass it on to their ratepayers. The Mayor of Mackay was right when she said that the council was merely collecting on behalf of the federal government due to the tax. She was collecting a tax for the federal government and so she had no option but to raise the rates for residents of Mackay and district.

This government has a mandate to get rid of that tax, to save the ratepayers this tax and to make sure that the cost of living falls right across the nation. But, unfortunately, Labor fail to recognise that mandate. They want the rates to remain high. They will not give the councils the opportunity to pass on these benefits to the ratepayers. Labor should listen, junk the garbage tax and consign the carbon tax itself to the dump. Let us get on with delivering the mandate we have from the Australian people.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, could the Leader of the Nationals please table the script he was reading from?

The SPEAKER: Are his notes confidential or non-confidential?

Mr TRUSS: Confidential.

The SPEAKER: Then they are not tabled.