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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8394


Senator NASH (New South WalesDeputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (18:10): As the minister has alluded to, the price of electricity does fluctuate—of course it does; everybody understands that completely—but the carbon tax is going to create for people and businesses an increase in electricity costs that would not otherwise be there if this government were not giving the Australian people a carbon tax.

I will just go to the issue of compensation, which the minister just alluded to, in terms of the passing on of costs and what would be dealt with. I would like to ask the minister about the clean energy advance. My understanding is that this will go out as an up-front payment for welfare recipients. I have had some concerns raised with me, because when the government introduced the $900 cheques during the global financial crisis there was a spike in the sale of plasma TVs and other goods emanating from China. It is quite a perverse outcome of the carbon tax as we see things being bought from China. And there was also an increase of money spent in the clubs at the time of the $900 cheque.

Perhaps the minister might assist me. I am trying to get an understanding about whether there is going to be a lump sum up-front—I believe it is going to take into account an 18-month period—to go towards those electricity and energy costs. What assurances can the government give the chamber that that lump sum that is paid to those recipients will be used for electricity and energy costs?