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Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Page: 220

Carbon Pricing

Ms PRICE (Durack) (14:28): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. I refer to this bill from Derby Industries that shows that Western Australia's major meat-processing plant, Talloman, is being charged around $250,000 in higher electricity costs as a result of the carbon tax. How is the carbon tax reducing the competitiveness of Australia's export industries and why is it important to scrap the tax as soon as possible? I seek leave to table this electricity bill.

Mr Shorten: We have not seen the document. Leave is not granted.

Leave not granted.

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for the Environment) (14:29): I want to thank the member for Durack, because the member for Durack represents an export electorate—an electorate which produces minerals, energy, crops and, in particular, livestock. She knows that competitiveness is absolutely essential, in this global environment, to creating and maintaining jobs. So, against that background, when you see that a particular firm is faced with a $250,000 bill—that is $19,000 a month plus GST—just for the carbon tax, you have to ask yourself: how does this create jobs; how does this help competitiveness; how does this help Australian exports; and how does this help Australians maintain the ability to be competitive?

The answer is that what we see from Derby Industries at Talloman is a very simple proposition. They are hit with the carbon tax through their electricity bills. But abattoirs around the country are not just hit with that; they have to pay the carbon tax through their electricity bills but they also have to pay the carbon tax through the direct emissions. They pay the carbon tax through gas; they pay the carbon tax through diesel generation; they pay the carbon tax through refrigerants. Do you know what—if the Leader of the Opposition gets his way they will also pay the carbon tax on their trucks, because every time they drive their goods to market or from the processing centre, under his proposal there will be a carbon tax on trucks. We are waiting for the esteemed Leader of the Opposition to say whether or not he still stands by a carbon tax on trucks, because that is his policy.

Beyond that, it is not just this one abattoir; it is also abattoirs such as Master Butchers—

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston will desist.

Mr HUNT: in the electorate of Port Adelaide, where the Chief Executive Officer, Warren McLean, said, 'The carbon tax has cost this business over $330,000 in higher electricity and gas costs in 2012-13.' This equates to a whopping $15,000 per employee in the member's own electorate.

Against that background let me be absolutely clear. There is a $7½ billion tax break to help improve competitiveness, which we can give to Australian companies. Right now that tax break is before the Senate. Right now the Leader of the Opposition has his senators on an industrial go-slow. It is an area of expertise! If the Leader of the Opposition wants to help he should send his senators back to work and repeal the carbon tax.