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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9254

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (12:36): We have heard a lot of negativity and nonsense from those opposite with respect to this issue, clearly, showing once again they are the apostles of Alan Jones and the disciples of Lord Monckton. About 60 per cent of our economy will be covered by a carbon price. The carbon price is not applied to agricultural emissions, emissions from cars—like commercial vehicles—off-road agricultural forestry or fishery uses. We are seeing fewer than 500 companies at the moment—there are about 300 mentioned in relation to this particular coverage—making them pay for that which they have done in the past for free: pollute our atmosphere.

We are providing assistance to nine out of 10 households. The average income in Blair is about $59,000 a year, so you can see that more than nine in 10 of those people living in my electorate will receive assistance. Almost six million households have received tax cuts. Four million households have received an extra buffer of 20 per cent and above and a million Australians will not have to pay tax as a result of our clean energy package.

All those who might be listening to this debate should listen to the fact that small business operators pay tax—personal income tax. Not all of them are in corporate structures. A lot of them are in a position where they are PAYE taxpayers, and we have given $47 billion in personal tax cuts since we were elected and have lifted the tax-free threshold. Many small business operators are low-income earners.

Those opposite voted against the tax cuts for them. Those opposite, again, backed up the fact that they would not support jobs and small business during the GFC by voting against taking action on climate change and supporting small businesses, households and individuals, pensioners and self-funded retirees with our clean energy package.

They talk about the impact on councils. I will give you an example of two regional councils, one being the biggest council in the country—$3.2 billion is the annual revenue for the Brisbane City Council. The carbon price impact on their budget is $15.8 million—and the member for Ryan came in here as a councillor from that council. They wasted $1.9 billion on tunnels, and the interest payments they are incurring on that are far greater than the carbon tax impact on their actual operations. Ipswich City Council has a $450 million turnover ever year. Guess what? The impact on their budget is 0.7 per cent—exactly what the Treasury model said.

It is the same thing with the coalition governments in New South Wales and Victoria: the Treasury modelling has proved accurate, and we know that we will see a 20 per cent growth in wages by 2020—that is what Treasury says.

We will see 1.6 million new jobs in this economy by 2020. Since 1 July Whyalla has not been wiped off, Gladstone has not been wiped off and we have $107 billion in investment in the coal industry. We have seen 14,000 jobs created as the first example of jobs being recorded in the ABS data. I am waiting for the jeremiads and the financial Armageddon to arrive, but it has not happened, has it? It has not happened, because the python, the constrictor—whatever analogy you like—has not arrived. This was the mother of all scare campaigns, and it has not proven to be accurate or true. Those opposite will be hoist with their own petard, because people know that that has not been their experience—that it has not had the impact on their personal budgets, their lives and their businesses.

Even the mayor and deputy mayor of a regional council like the Somerset Regional Council in South East Queensland, who are not card-carrying members of the Labor Party, said to me and to Mark Dreyfus, the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, 'We absorbed it.' They said, 'We're going to take the advantage of the landfill, the carbon credits, the carbon farming initiative.' So they will get credits for it because of what they are doing, because they are operating landfill sites. And they will get the benefit of it.

And the farmers in my area—I have met with many of them and talked to them about it—will get the advantage of the carbon farming initiative. All those old National Party people opposite, who voted against an income source for farmers, should hang their heads in shame. Those opposite know these jeremiads have not proven to be accurate.