House debates

Monday, 14 July 2014

Questions without Notice

Carbon Pricing

2:37 pm

Photo of Bruce BillsonBruce Billson (Dunkley, Liberal Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | Hansard source

They were incompetent in government and they are irresponsible in opposition. As the member for Moreton leaves, I can remind those members opposite how Labor went around claiming they had terminated the carbon tax, but, by their actions in opposition, that Townsville termination has become an escalation. Labor's decision to impede this government's efforts to repeal the carbon tax has actually seen the tax go up; and that has meant $550 on average of additional expense for Australian households. In New South Wales gas is up to 9.2 per cent higher than it needs to be because of the carbon tax. In Queensland the cost for a typical household electricity bill would fall by 8.5 per cent. In Tasmania, we have seen a 7.8 per cent real fall; in the ACT—in this capital—would have a fall of 11.6 per cent in electricity prices if we could abolish the carbon tax.

As the Prime Minister has made clear and as our consumer protector has made clear, there is a lot of noise—this is what Rod Simms had to say—going around with lots of complicated questions, but at its heart, when the carbon tax came in, it increased prices. When you take it away, the effect will be reversed. What we have done is finance the ACCC not only with an extra $89 million of emergency funding over the forward estimates but an additional $10 million to make sure that the savings from the carbon tax repeal are passed on. There are price-monitoring powers, and we have already seen the first carbon-monitoring report published on 1 May under the government's direction. The government's plan makes it absolutely clear: it will prohibit any company, including supermarkets, from making false or misleading representations about the impact of the carbon tax on the prices they charge. We put strong safeguards in place.

As my friend and colleague, the Minister for the Environment, has mentioned, in discussions with the Senate, those strong safeguards will be strengthened even further. It is now up to all of us to do—not only for the member for Moore's community, but for households and businesses right across Australia—is repeal this carbon tax. Let's axe the tax, not terminate it, as you claimed, because you are escalating it by standing in the way of this important measure.


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