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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3759

Carbon Pricing

Mr ROBERT (Fadden) (14:25): My question is to the Prime Minister. Are you aware of comments by the head of Queensland company Zarraffa's Coffee that:

… it won't be long before coffee is an expensive commodity as we shoulder carbon tax impacts across transport, power, rents and so on.

How does the Prime Minister expect this company, with its over 50 stores, to remain competitive and to continue to invest in Queensland when the CEO himself warns that the carbon tax may be the final undoing of many small to medium businesses?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:26): To the member's question I say this: I want to make sure that we are supporting small businesses in this country, medium sized businesses in this country and bigger businesses in this nation, which is why I want to ensure those businesses get a tax cut. I want to ensure that the very business the member refers to gets a tax cut.

Unfortunately, the member who asked the question, who professes concern about this business, is opposed to giving that business a tax cut. I hope he has taken the opportunity to explain that to every person who works there.

Mr Hartsuyker: I rise on a point of order concerning direct relevance. The question related to the carbon tax being the final undoing of many small businesses and in particular, Zarraffa's Coffee.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will direct her answer to the specifics of the question.

Ms GILLARD: Of course, I am talking about the future of this business. In its future I want to see it get a tax cut and get tax relief. Whether it is incorporated or not I want to see it get a benefit—a company tax cut, if it is incorporated. Whether it is incorporated or not it will get the benefit of an instant asset write-off of $6,500 a year. Whether it is incorporated or not it will have the ability to get a tax benefit of $5,000 when buying a new motor vehicle. The member who asked the question is opposed to all of that.

On the question of carbon pricing and this business, or any Australian business, and the Australian nation, if we are committed to reducing our carbon pollution by five per cent by 2020, as is bipartisan politics in this parliament, then action needs to be taken. Once you have agreed to that—reducing it by five per cent—there is only one question you then need to ask yourself. Do you do it in the most cost effective way or do you do it in a more expensive way?

Prime Minister Howard and his government recognised that the most cost effective way of reducing carbon pollution was to put a price on carbon. Prime Minister Howard was right. The Leader of the Opposition was right when he campaigned with Prime Minister Howard on that platform in the 2007 election. All of the members of the coalition who are on the record supporting carbon pricing—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will become directly relevant—

Ms GILLARD: as the most effective plan, the cheapest plan, are right. Consequently, if we are to cut carbon pollution and look after this business that is the plan we need and it is the plan the government has provided. We do not need the costly plan, smashing into families at $1,300 a year, as recommended by the Leader of the Opposition.