House debates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Constituency Statements

Manufacturing, Walk for Autism

10:13 am

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage) Share this | | Hansard source

The government's buy Australian manufacturing campaign is a sham. Let me be clear about this. This campaign will proceed, but 10 months from now the government will introduce a massive new manufacturing tax and impost on Australian manufacturing. Whether it is a firm such as Carroll's Injection Moulding in Hastings, run by Mick Carroll, a member of the Mount Martha CFA, who has staff members who are members of the CFA, an all-up an employer of six people, including himself and his wife—it is a small business—which will face higher electricity costs or whether it is BlueScope, from the small to the large every Australian manufacturing firm that uses electricity or gas and relies on road transport will face significantly higher costs immediately. According to the government's own modelling, there will be a 10 per cent increase in electricity bills. This is irrespective of whether the firm has a direct emissions responsibility. Every Australian manufacturing firm will suffer a 10 per cent immediate increase in electricity costs on the government's own modelling and higher on the New South Wales government's modelling. This has rendered the government's buy Australian campaign a sham. Not only that; we understand the steel industry advocate position has been vacant for nine months. Again, this makes the campaign nothing more than lip-service in the face of real job losses.

Having said that the government should drop its carbon tax if it is serious about Australian manufacturing and adopt the better way of direct action through incentives rather than taxes, I want to speak more positively about a local matter. I recently met two brilliant young Australians in my electorate, Liam and Lachlan Martin. The elder brother has Aspergers. They were part of the Walk for Autism and were joined by a third brother, Callum, who is currently completing his VCE studies. As part of the Walk for Autism, they indicated that they were keen to work but did not have work. I was fortunate to be able to link them up with the Green Jobs Corps program, which is a successor of the Green Corps program largely established by the now Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. Already the two brothers have been enrolled in a Green Jobs Corps program on the Mornington Peninsula. They will study for a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management. I am delighted at that outcome. This is a great program. I fear that the government is set to terminate it, and it should not do so. Instead it should adopt our model of a broader green army. (Time expired)