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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 6978

Carbon Pricing

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:07): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister and Treasurer. How does the Treasurer reconcile his statement today that the carbon tax is 'only a tiny fraction of the rise of electricity prices in New South Wales; everyone knows that', given that half of the 18 per cent rise in electricity prices announced by the independent regulator is a direct result of the carbon tax?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:08): I thank the shadow Treasurer for that question, because we know that the main driver of electricity price increases in recent years has been investment in the upgrading of the network—

Mr Hockey interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The member for North Sydney has asked his question.

Mr SWAN: and there have been very substantial price rises in electricity over a period of years. For example, in the last five years nationally electricity prices have risen by more than 70 per cent without a carbon price. Of course, the rise in New South Wales has been 80 per cent. We do know that nationally the carbon price is expected to add up to nine per cent to the average household bill in 2012-13. The question I was asked was, 'Given the increases in recent years, what is it?' And that is the point I made. The great bulk of increases in electricity prices have nothing to do with the carbon price, and that is the truth of it. But, of course, you want to run around the country, running your scare campaign. The truth is that in New South Wales those generators and all of those companies owned by the New South Wales government are very profitable. If they want to use the $2 billion and $3 billion they are making out of those assets to give some relief in New South Wales, let us see Barry O'Farrell go and do that. This campaign from those opposite is completely dishonest. It is the work of a snake oil salesman going around the country saying that Whyalla will be wiped out and running around the country exaggerating the impact of the price increases.

Mr Hockey: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It comes back to the fact that the Treasurer thinks that a near 50 per cent increase—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney needs to make a point of order.

Mr Hockey: in electricity prices is, in fact, tiny. He has got to reconcile his statement.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. It is an abuse of points of order. If the member of North Sydney had raised a point of relevance—

Mr Hockey: Relevance!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: He did not. The member for North Sydney has had his one point of order. He will resume his seat. The Acting Prime Minister has the call.

Mr SWAN: I am finished.