Monday, 14 July 2014
Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, True-up Shortfall Levy (General) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, True-up Shortfall Levy (Excise) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Customs Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Excise Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) (Transitional Provisions) Bill 2014; Second Reading
This is a compensation package that we are keeping whilst repealing the carbon tax. But one of the many flaws with Labours carbon tax was that it forgot small business. It forgot about the costs imposed on small business through higher electricity and gas prices—butchers, bakers, grocers. Of course, let's face it, Labor forgot about small business generally—519,000 jobs were lost in small business over the six years that Labor was in power.
It forgot about our manufacturers, as I mentioned. There was a $1.1 billion-hit on manufacturing. In my electorate of Corangamite just consider the case of Boral, then—now known as Blue Circle Southern Cement in Waurn Ponds. Under the previous Labor government 90 people at Boral lost their jobs. While there were various cost pressures on Boral, the carbon tax ensured that Boral was less competitive on the international market. The cost of making clinker was driven higher by some 18 per cent because of the carbon tax, and now we see Blue Circle Southern Cement importing clinker and only 20 or so employees remaining at this production facility.
Labor also forgot about our farmers, and particularly our dairy farmers. Let's look at the cost imposed on dairying as a result of the carbon tax. It has driven up the cost of power for our dairy farmers by between $5,000 and $7,000 a year. Many of the dairy farmers in my electorate and across south-west Victoria simply cannot afford that cost hike and that has placed real pressures on such an important industry. Labor forgot about the likes of Bulla ice-cream, one of Colac's most successful local manufacturers. It forgot about the likes of Murray Goulburn, which is currently paying $14 million a year in carbon tax, and Fonterra, which is paying a carbon tax bill of around $7 million a year. I note that some 130 people lost their jobs at Fonterra just outside Colac about 18 months ago.
Let us not forget what Labor's policy is. If Labor was still in power, we would have seen a carbon tax on diesel fuel which would see the cost of off-road diesel rise by 6.5c a litre. That would be a direct hit on mining and manufacturing. Again, that is bad for business, it is bad for jobs and it is bad for our international competitiveness.
In question time today we heard from the member for Port Adelaide, who boasted about how he had terminated the carbon tax—how Labor had terminated the carbon tax and, as a result of doing that, they were going to be addressing cost of living pressures on ordinary Australian families. This is a great example of Labor saying one thing before the election and another, entirely different, thing after the election. Time and time again we see members opposite supporting the carbon tax. This is hypocrisy at its very worst.
It was disappointing to hear from the member for Melbourne today and some of his rhetoric in portraying our party as one that does not believe in climate change.