Wednesday, 26 May 2021
Questions without Notice
that are not only putting Australians in jobs but also helping their employees get into their own homes. Lower taxes is making that possible. Lower taxes—whether it is lower taxes for the employees who are working in these business or particular investment incentives that are ensuring that businesses can put the investment in through the instant expensing write-offs that are in place, the research and development tax concessions or the new patent box arrangement, which will significantly lower the investment in new medical technologies that not only save lives but also employ a lot of Australians and achieve significant earnings for this country—are creating jobs and creating investment. It's all part of Australia's recovery plan that was set out by the Treasurer in the budget.
But there's another important component of that, and that is ensuring that we are reducing electricity prices, putting downward pressure on electricity prices, and ensuring that businesses in this country—and particularly in regional areas in the heavy industries of this country—can get access to the affordable and reliable energy they need to keep people in jobs. And we're doing that at the same time as seeing emissions reduce by 19 per cent since 2006. Like economies, such as Canada, have had a zero per cent reduction in emissions. Here in Australia we have achieved a 19 per cent reduction in emissions since 2005.
But we want to keep making things in this country, as we are. We want to keep producing aluminium, whether it is up in Gladstone or down in Portland or up in Tomago. We want to keep making steel, whether it is in Whyalla or other places. We are doing that by ensuring that they get the affordable and reliable energy they need, not just now but also into the future. That's why $76.9 million was put into the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader scheme in Portland—to keep the Portland aluminium smelter open. It's why we've invested through Snowy-Hydro into the Kurri Kurri gas plant—opposed by those opposite. We get a yea from the member for Hunter, we get a nay from the member for McMahon and we get a maybe from the member for Geelong and from the member for Corio—they are all over the place on this—and, when it comes to the Leader of the Opposition, who knows what he thinks! The Kurri Kurri plant is supporting jobs in the Hunter. It is supported by those on this side and it is opposed by the sleepwalkers on that side in the Labor Party.
Then there is the ARENA CEFC initiative, which will see more invested in carbon capture and sequestration on soil carbon, on lower emissions technologies and on hydrogen. That is opposed by members opposite, by the sleepwalkers opposite, who have their eyes closed to the needs of regional heavy industry business. (Time expired)