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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8410

Senator WONG (South AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deregulation) (20:24): I offered this across the chamber to the senator, as is the normal case in these processes, saying, 'I have an answer on your specific question; do you want me to give it?' and she told me where to go.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells interjecting

Senator WONG: You may not have used those words, that is true.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN ( Senator Marshall ): Senator Fierravanti-Wells, you rose on a point of order?

Senator Fierravanti-Wells: My point of order is the minister should withdraw that. I did not tell her where to go, and she should correct the record.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: That is not a point of order.

Senator Joyce interjecting

Senator WONG: This is very disciplined from the opposition! I am not quite sure to whom I respond. If the senator is offended I will withdraw that, but I do make the point that I gave her the courtesy, as I try to, of indicating that I had an answer on the specific question and instead I got some diatribe about process.

In relation to the question about the 0.3 per cent, I am advised that detail on that is available on the Treasury website. There is a note entitled 'The impact of a carbon price on household expenditure as modelled by the Treasury for the Clean Energy Future package announced on 10 July 2011 by the government'. That note sets out a more detailed breakdown of Treasury's modelling of the impact of a carbon price via CPI subgroup. If you turn to table 1, that table shows a range of the CPI subgroups, and included in that is health services, average price impact per week, and I have here 10c—I will just check that that is right—which is 0.3 per cent. So, in response to the senator's question, that is the locus that that figure came from. I think that is the basis of the assertions, to which she was referring, by the minister I represent.

I also make the point, and I suspect the senator would recall this better than I in relation to public hospitals, which I think she asked about, that the government's funding of public hospitals is subject to indexation arrangements. Senator Sinodinos is nodding. I do not have anyone in the advisers box to recall precisely the rate of indexation but my recollection is that it is significantly above CPI because health costs obviously rise above CPI, and if I am incorrect in that I will come back to you. To the extent that there is any increase in costs from the carbon price I am advised that current and future funding arrangements would automatically ensure that public hospitals continue to be properly funded within the arrangements.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN ( Senator Marshall ): Before I give Senator Joyce the call, let me again remind all senators of the question before the chair, which is that amendment (1) be agreed to.