House debates

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Questions without Notice

Environment

3:02 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment) Share this | Hansard source

I do want to thank the member for Petrie for his question. I say to the Manager of Opposition Business, I confess I do not have any skiing medals. I do not have any medals for being the best skier. My point is that we are practical environmentalists on this side. We want to do real things to reduce emissions. When we look at what has happened in recent times around the world, we see firstly that on our watch the government has contributed in a very significant way to the success of the Montreal protocol and the creation of the road map which came from that. That is a saving of potentially 90 billion tonnes of emissions between now and 2050. The 2020 Kyoto rules were settled in the Australian offices at the Paris talks. The 2030 agreement was contributed to in a very significant way by the work of the foreign minister and others.

Domestically what we found is that we have achieved almost 93 million tonnes of emissions reductions through the Emissions Reduction Fund. We have seven million tonnes of soil carbon, over seven million tonnes of Savannah management—a large proportion of which is Indigenous groups doing work on Indigenous land to reduce bushfire, to improve the quality of land and at the same time to generate genuine long-term income for themselves. It is a great combination of Indigenous groups working their land, receiving income and doing the right thing by the environment.

At the same time, we have done all of this whilst reducing the pressure on family electricity bills by the largest amount in Australian history. By comparison, what is it that that our friends on the other side have done and what are they proposing? When they tried to tackle this question, they drove up electricity prices. They offered 5½ billion dollars to Victoria's brown coal power stations not to close down, not to clean up but to continue operating—$250 million to Loy Yang and Hazelwood, and $250 million to Yallourn.

What are they now proposing? They are not only putting the squeeze on families by hurting their house prices, but they now want to increase the cost of living. So it is the time for the Leader of the Opposition to come clean on how much he will increase household electricity prices by. This actually matters to families. That is what they talk about around the kitchen table. When those opposite were in government, Treasury modelled their current policy as showing a 78 per cent increase in wholesale electricity prices. So under us, electricity prices— (Time expired)

Comments

Tibor Majlath
Posted on 5 Mar 2016 8:02 am (Report this comment)

The Minister claims that "Domestically what we found is that we have achieved almost 93 million tonnes of emissions reductions through the Emissions Reduction Fund."

We haven't achieved 93 million tonnes of emissions reductions. Just spent more of taxpayers money. It remains to be seen over the the next seven to ten years whether contractors paid with taxpayers' money will achieve those reductions.

The Minister claims "At the same time, we have done all of this whilst reducing the pressure on family electricity bills by the largest amount in Australian history."

Let's see the largest fall in electricity bills. Under the LNP, from JUN 2014-JUL 2014, WITH THE REPEAL OF THE CARBON TAX Electricity went from $0.2856/KWH to $0.2735/KWH or -4.24%; Network charge unchanged at $1.05 per day. Didn't really notice the greatest fall in price. If as the LNP says prices for electricity fell by up to 12.4%, most of my savings must have been eaten up by continued price rises in electricity. There was no saving from Network charges as only the electricity cost in $/KWH attracted the carbon tax.

The greatest increases are/were on network costs which did not attract the carbon tax. Of course, the Minister fails to mention that the LNP's goods and services tax applies to the whole bill and hence to both electricity AND network costs. The GST is much larger than the carbon tax ever was. We only have silence on the GST which we all voted for. The problem with the carbon tax was that everyone had to pay it. The reason there is silence on the GST and why some wanted to increase it, is because households pay most of the GST.

The Minister confuses negative gearing with electricity prices by claiming "What are they now proposing? They are not only putting the squeeze on families by hurting their house prices, but they now want to increase the cost of living. So it is the time for the Leader of the Opposition to come clean on how much he will increase household electricity prices by."

What the Minister doesn't tell you is that he is peddling a figure from one of three models and inflated by 2.5% CPI out to 2030. What do you think an increase in the GST which taxes the WHOLE bill would have done? Just amazing behaviour and political spin.