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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3756

Carbon Pricing

Mr VASTA (Bonner) (14:12): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that Sunfresh Linen, which employs 130 people in Darra in suburban Brisbane, faces a carbon tax bill of at least $83,000 and rising, despite the fact that Sunfresh has invested $2 million in becoming more energy efficient in reducing its emissions by 436 tonnes annually? How does the Prime Minister expect this company to continue to invest in Australia when it is expected to pay such a high price under the carbon tax?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:12): To the member who asked the question, of course I value very much what businesses around the country do in creating wealth and prosperity and in providing jobs for Australians. Indeed, I value that so much that we want to lift some of their burdens by giving them a company tax cut. We want to lift some of their burdens by making sure that they pay less company tax. I think it is probably very disappointing for the member who asked the question that he is not in a position to walk in the front door of that business to meet with the people who work there and to say to them that he supports a company tax cut for that business.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Prime Minister was asked about the carbon tax and the effect of the carbon tax on the 130 workers at Darra. She was not asked about any other matter and she should limit herself to answering the question.

The SPEAKER: I think the Prime Minister was explaining why the imposition of the carbon tax would not necessarily have the adverse impact suggested by the honourable member for Bonner. The Prime Minister has the call and she is aware of the terms of the question.

Ms GILLARD: I was asked a question which went to the continuation of this business, its welfare and its ability to provide work for Australians, and I am addressing that question. In addressing that question, I think it is relevant to note that the government wants to provide that business with a tax cut as part of ensuring that Australians around the nation get a fair share of the resources boom. I understand that those opposite are opposed to this business getting its fair share of the resources boom—they want it to pay more tax—but I do not think that members opposite can come into this parliament and feign concern about individual businesses and not acknowledge that they are opposed to providing those businesses with a tax cut.

On the question of carbon pricing and that business, and Australian businesses generally, we are determined to make sure that we seize the benefits of a clean energy future and that we do it in the most cost-effective way—that is, we do it in a way that is best for Australian businesses and Australian working people, because it is at the least cost. That is the plan of the government, a least-cost plan, and it stands in stark contrast to the shambolic, expensive scheme that that Leader of the Opposition advocates—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question.

Ms GILLARD: which of course includes making the working people at that business worse off by taking tax cuts off them, by taking family payment increases off them and by taking pension increases off aged members of their families. If you care about the Australian economy, its strength and its future, if you care about making sure that we cut carbon pollution, you have got an obligation to look for the lowest cost way to do it. We have. The Leader of the Opposition and his political party have not, and that is bad for Australian businesses and Australian jobs.