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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1324

Carbon Pricing

Mr PORTER (Pearce) (14:38): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. I refer to figures released by the Clean Energy Regulator that show that the carbon tax has hit—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left.

Mr PORTER: Western Australia with at least $627 million in higher costs in the last financial year. Minister, who will benefit if the carbon tax is repealed?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for the Environment) (14:38): The answer is: Western Australian families, Western Australian workers and Western Australian firms. I want to thank the member for Pearce. He is a multitalented member of parliament. He was Treasurer of WA. Many would say he is extremely good-looking, in my office; charming; intelligent and, above all else, somebody concerned about electricity bills and bills of all sorts.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence.

Mr HUNT: The member opposite wants to do something that is all about action, not talk. Right on this day, he can have his senators walk into the Senate, get out of the way, repeal the carbon tax and, in particular, repeal the fuel tax bills on Qantas, Virgin and Rex. If you care about action, not talk, it is right there—it is available today, this very moment.

In terms of Western Australia, the question was: what are we able to do to help Western Australian firms? The Clean Energy Regulator was absolutely clear. There are 63 major firms in WA today that are directly paying the carbon tax. Western Australian firms, however, are part of the 75,000 that are paying the diesel tax. And, more than that, Western Australian firms, along with all other Australian firms, are paying it through their electricity, gas and refrigeration costs.

More than that again—let's go to the details—when you look at the Western Australian figures, you see that we have $4.1 billion of national electricity costs because of the carbon tax: $200 million for the Electricity Generation Corporation in WA alone and $60 million for Bluewaters Power station. Then, beyond that, we go to mining and manufacturing and the way they have been hit. In LNG, Woodside energy has a $172 million carbon tax bill. In alumina, a sector under enormous pressure, BHP's Worsley alumina refinery has a $56 million bill. In fertilisers, the Yara Pilbara operation has a $35 million tax. The state government is hit with $50 million of direct costs in terms of schools, hospitals and police and emergency services. And this is the tax that you want to keep on schools, hospitals, police and emergency services. That is what the modern Labor Party has come to—a tax on the most basic services at state level. We then go to the fact that every Western Australian household will be part of the benefit of $550 per household per year if we get rid of the carbon tax. So, if the Leader of the Opposition wants action, not talk, he should go to his senators, get them off strike and get out of the way.