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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9258

Mrs D'ATH (Petrie) (12:56): Once again we hear the argument that the sky is falling in. I think the opposition are just desperate for this carbon price to fail. Let us put some facts into this debate. We hear members of the opposition time and time again quoting the Prime Minister from 2010, stating that there would not be a carbon tax under a government she leads. It is important to also put that into context and look at what the Prime Minister also said in 2010 before the federal election. She said that the federal Labor Party and a federal Labor government remain committed to delivering an emissions trading scheme—a policy that we took to the 2007 election and to the 2010 election. What are we delivering for the people of Australia? We are delivering an emissions trading scheme that comes into effect in 2015.

What has this government had to do to achieve that? In forming a minority government we had to sit down and negotiate for a Multi-Party Climate Change Committee to look into how we achieve that aim, and we now have a fixed-term carbon price for three years. Why have we done that? We have done that so that in the long term we could deliver on our promise to the Australian people that we would have an emissions trading scheme to operate well into the future in this country. I am proud of that commitment. I am proud that we are delivering on that commitment.

Let us look at some of the other comments that we have heard. We have heard from the member for Riverina that the pensioners contacting his office are getting meagre assistance and self-funded retirees are not getting anything. Again, let us put some facts around that. The fact is that pensioners are getting compensation, or household assistance, of around $10.10 per week—more than the estimated cost of the impact of the carbon price. With respect to self-funded retirees, to make a statement in this House to say that self-funded retirees get nothing is just misleading. The fact is that many self-funded retirees who may be on the seniors healthcare card or are low income would also get some assistance.

We heard from the member for Riverina that people in his electorate are scared to spend money. I am not surprised, when the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer are running around saying how bad our economy is—despite them going overseas and saying how great it is—and you have the Premier of Queensland actually stating in a press conference that Queensland is bankrupt and then within a very short period of time that same day saying: 'Well, actually, no, we are doing quite well. Our economy is growing. Don't panic.' A Liberal premier comes out and says, 'We're bankrupt'—and you are surprised that people are worried about spending money!

We should be talking up our economy. When it comes to our economy, we are the envy of the developed world. These are the things that we should be talking about. If we want to stimulate spending in our economy and productivity, then we have to stop talking down the economy. So Liberal parties at the national and state levels need to stop talking down our economy and trying to scare people. If I hear one more example from members of the opposition about businesses in their electorates and the increases in their electricity prices! I would like a member of the opposition to come into the chamber and not just quote dollar figures but actually tell us the percentage of that increase. It would be a nice change to hear what the percentage increase is. When the opposition talk about thousands of dollars of extra electricity costs, they are not talking about percentage. Why? What you will hear is that it equates to 10 per cent or less. It equates to what Treasury has estimated as the cost of electricity as a result of the carbon price.

There are many electricity providers who, when they are currently sending out bills, are also sending out a brochure. That brochure shows where every $100 of their electricity bill goes. The brochure says that $51 goes towards the network, poles and wires; $20 towards retail, customer service and programs; $20 towards wholesale electricity generation; and $9 towards the carbon price. Unfortunately, every person whose electricity provider in Queensland is a state government owned electricity provider is not getting this flyer, because the state government refuses to let the state government owned electricity providers circulate it. Those are the facts. The facts are that GST had an impact on CPI of 2.5 per cent, but we did not see any household assistance to anyone then. (Time expired)

Debate adjourned.