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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8390

Senator WONG (South AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deregulation) (17:51): First, in relation to the cost impact on communities, the way in which that assessment has been undertaken has been on the basis of households and the CPI impact. One could extrapolate, I suppose, to different communities on that basis. The CPI impact on prices is about 0.7 per cent in 2012-13. That is an average cost of $9.90 a week. In terms of the break-up of that, food is less than $1 a week on average, electricity is about $3.30 a week, gas is about $1.50 a week.

In relation to the assistance, nine out of 10 households will receive some assistance through tax cuts and/or payment increases. Of those, two out of three will get tax cuts or increased payments that cover their entire average price impact. Around four million Australian households will get an extra buffer with assistance that is at least 20 per cent more than their expected price impact. There will be an increase in payments of about 1.7 per cent. This includes increases to pensions, family tax benefits, disability support payment, carer payment and other allowances. There is assistance to self-funded retirees who receive the healthcare card, who receive the same dollar amount as the age pension. There are also the tax cuts to which I referred earlier whereby we will be tripling the tax-free threshold.

Agricultural emissions are excluded from the carbon price mechanism. The govern­ment, after discussions with Mr Windsor and Mr Oakeshott—I am sure that warms the cockles of Senator Nash's heart—through a bill that passed the parliament earlier this year, is giving farmers, forest growers and landholders access to carbon markets worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year by 2020. As part of the clean energy future plan the government announced seven new land sector based measures with over $1.7 billion worth of funding over the next six years. These measures include carbon farming futures; the Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund; the Biodiversity Fund; the Regional Natural Resource Management Planning for Climate Change Fund, which includes support for NRM organisations; the Carbon Farming Skills initiative; the Non-Kyoto Carbon Fund, which enables government purchase of land-sector abatement which is not counted towards Australia's emissions target, so that is more generous than under the CPRS to landholders; as well as the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board to provide information and advice on the implementation of measures.

In addition you will recall, Senator, that in answer to your colleague Senator Williams—you may not have been in the chamber, although, to give credit where credit is due, you have been quite disciplined about being here—we had a discussion about the assistance that would be provided under the $150 million food and foundries program.