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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1735

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (10:39): One thing our history has taught us over a long period of time is that many of the leftist, feel-good policies that are introduced by governments actually have many unintended consequences, and those unintended consequences actually cause more damage and more harm than the problem they were originally trying to solve. We have seen this with our border protection policies, where the previous government brought in policies they thought were compassionate but which actually caused the death of over 1,200 people, who died at sea.

That is well known, but I would like to explain, in the short time available, how the same thing happened with the carbon tax—how it has actually cased death and disease in our society. To start with, a recent study by the Queensland University of Technology found that death rates in Australian cities were up to 30 per cent higher in winter than they were in summer. They also found there was no link between a hotter summer and higher deaths. It is the cold weather that causes death in our Australian cities, and the reason is that people have difficulty keeping themselves warm.

This brings me to some recent figures released by the Australian Energy Regulator. They found that there was a 100 per cent increase in the number of New South Wales households that had their power cut off between 2009 and 2013. We know that the carbon tax and other so-called green environmental policies push up the price of electricity. As the price of electricity goes up, people simply cannot afford it. That is exactly what we have seen in New South Wales, where 33,000 households last year had their electricity cut off because of the carbon tax. We know that that must have caused those people a lot of hardship. If you live in a cold house during winter, when you cannot afford to warm your house, we know that leads to disease—and the Queensland University have confirmed that it leads to death.

The other area where the carbon tax has detrimental adverse effects on people's health is the particulate matter. When people cannot afford electricity they look for alternates, and that is what has happened in Western Sydney. There has been a substantial increase in people burning wood. When you burn wood, you release particulate matter into the atmosphere, particularly what is called particulate matter PM2.5, and that is exactly what the monitoring stations in Western Sydney have recorded. They have recorded, during the period of the carbon tax, substantial increases in PM2.5 and PM2.10. In fact, in Western Sydney we now we have levels of PM2.10 that are higher than the World Health Organisation recommends. What does this do? It has been estimated that particulate matter has caused over 1,400 deaths in New South Wales. If we continue to increase electricity prices we will cause more death and disease in our states. (Time expired)