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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12545

Carbon Pricing

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:46): My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Minister for Industry and Innovation. How is putting a price on carbon and moving to a clean energy future important for taking advantage of the economic opportunities in the Asian century? Will the minister update the House on what our key economic indicators say about the impact of the carbon price so far?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:47): I thank the member for Blair for his question. Tackling climate change through carbon pricing is a fundamental part, in fact, of the government's dialogue with our major trading partners in the Asian region. Our trading partners in the region expect Australia—which is the 12th largest economy in the world, the 15th highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world and the highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world per capita among the advanced economies—to play a part in tackling climate change along with them. That is the simple fact of the matter.

On that front, Korea has legislated for carbon pricing to be established through an emissions trading scheme and pilot emissions trading schemes covering about one-third of China's economy are on track to begin next year, 2013. Ultimately, the government is looking to link to these schemes in the same way that we are linking to the European Union market scheme to establish common carbon pricing and common carbon market arrangements with our major trading partners.

The opposition leaders' claims that the climate science is absolutely crap and that Australia should do nothing to reduce carbon pollution are an embarrassment for this country in our region and they risk trade retaliation. They are economically and environmentally reckless. They might have been political opportune at one point but they are not looking too good now. The fact is that carbon pricing has been settling well into our economy over the last three months and none of the absurd and mendacious predictions made by the opposition leader have come to bear at all.

One such prediction was that there would be unimaginable price increases—it was beyond the capacity of the human mind to imagine the price impact of carbon pricing. Guess what? He was wrong, like he has been wrong on everything about carbon pricing. His mendacious claims have known no limit whatsoever. The September CPI figures show that over the last 12 months inflation is just at two per cent, bang on the bottom of the RBA's target range. How unimaginable is that? What a joke; what a total loss of credibility the opposition leader has had. We can remember him going to fish markets and claiming that there would be incredible price rises. The CPI results for fish and seafood in the September quarter was 0.1 per cent, down 0.1 per cent on 12 months ago. Honestly, it is time that those opposite started having a look at the member for Wentworth again. Even the member for North Sydney has been looking pretty hungry on Kitchen Cabinet.