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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8292


Senator CORMANN (Western Australia) (12:17): Your answer misses the whole point as far as the impact on power generators in Western Australia is concerned. To compare the impact on black coal fired power generators in Western Australia to the impact on black coal fired power generators in other parts of Australia who are part of the NEM is completely irrelevant. The Western Australian energy market is its own distinct market. In the National Electricity Market you are going to get substitution from one electricity supplier to the other, which you will not be able to get in Western Australia. What matters is the relative impact within the market, not the relative impact in the Western Australian market compared to the relative impact in another market. That might be too complicated for you to grasp this morning, Minister. You have now confirmed that $5.5 billion in assistance and the assistance with any financing arrangements through the transition as a result of the impact of the carbon tax will go to the highest emission intensity electricity generators. The reason why electricity generators like Macquarie Generation, Verve Energy and so on are not getting any transitional assistance—zero, not one cent, not one dime, zilch—is that they are too environmentally efficient. That is why they get no transitional assistance at all.

Senator Thistlethwaite was making a point about things that Loy Yang Power said. I draw his attention to the evidence given by Loy Yang Power to the Senate Select Committee on the Scrutiny of New Taxes inquiry on the carbon tax. Loy Yang Power said that the government's carbon tax would:

... place pressure on our cash flows, make our refinancing of existing debt more difficult, may cause compliance problems with financial services licences and may lower the creditworthiness of the company.

…   …   …

… Loy Yang Power suffers a significant deterioration in business value, which may impact on the operations of the business in the medium to long term.

Even Loy Yang Power, who are getting some assistance through this package, are complaining about the fact that it will not adequately compensate them for the impact the government's carbon tax and will not prevent an impact on electricity consumers. Minister, if you are going to have a carbon tax that is going to hit the lowest emissions intensity electricity generators the hardest, which means that they will want to pass these costs on to electricity consumers and so on, can you give us a list of those electricity generators that are going to get the $5.5 billion worth of transitional assistance under your package?