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Monday, 21 May 2012
Page: 4742

Carbon Pricing

Mr HUNT (Flinders) (14:08): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer to an article in today's Courier Mail stating that Queenslanders will be hit with multimillion dollar bills from rubbish created from Cyclone Yasi because the government will not allow a natural disaster exemption from the carbon tax. Can the Acting Prime Minister explain why the victims of Cyclone Yasi will now also be victims of the carbon tax?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:09): I am very pleased that I was asked that question, because one of the things this government is very proud of is the assistance that we have put into North Queensland and Far North Queensland following Cyclone Yasi. It has cost the Commonwealth budget something like $6 billion, and when we came to this parliament to discuss how that could be funded we were opposed by those on the other side. We were opposed in one of the most substantial packages that has ever been put in place in this country to support communities that have been hit by a natural disaster. This has been particularly the case in assistance we have provided to local government areas—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The Acting Prime Minister was asked a very straightforward question, which was, 'Why will the victims of Cyclone Yasi also be victims of the carbon tax?' and that is the question he should be answering.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Acting Prime Minister has been answering the question and he has the call.

Mr SWAN: I certainly have, Madam Deputy Speaker. We have been providing assistance particularly to local authorities right throughout that region—very substantial assistance—which has been welcomed. When I was there earlier this year locals came up and congratulated both the Commonwealth and Queensland governments on the degree of assistance that has been provided.

I have also been asked about landfill operators. There are a number of steps they can take to reduce or offset their carbon liabilities, and they ought to take those steps.