Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. I remind the Treasurer that European carbon permits are currently trading at just $6.60 tonne, which is a 37 per cent fall in the price in the last 12 months. Given that the Australian carbon tax is currently $23 a tonne and in just two weeks will increase to $24.15 a tonne, will the Treasurer explain to the Australian people why his carbon tax is going up and up when in the rest of the world carbon prices are coming down and down? (Time expired)
It is a deep irony that at the same time we are seeing a carbon price and an emissions-trading scheme introduced in a province in China we get this question from those opposite, who used to believe in an emissions-trading scheme but no longer believe in it. Of course, we on this side of the House understand that an emissions-trading scheme is the most efficient way to price carbon. We understand that you cannot be a prosperous economy in the 21st century unless you are substantially powered by renewable energy. Of course, a carbon price for a fixed period moving to a floating price is exactly the way to go. That has been all of the advice we have received and it will stand this country in good stead for years and years to come.
In contrast to the policy of those opposite, their direct action policy, which will cost every household $1,200 on the budget bottom line—$1,200 going out of households—what we have done is put a price on the largest polluters in our economy, provided assistance to those who are affected by that and ensured a future for our country in renewable energy. Of course, it is deeply ironic that this question should be asked today when forces within the coalition are talking about getting rid of the renewable energy target as well. I could not think of anything more disruptive to our future prosperity or to our economy in the first term than such a reckless act as that. That is why they do not have the support of the business community in terms of their wrecking ball tactics when it comes to the renewable energy target.
We are proud that we have priced carbon. We are proud that we have taken action against dangerous climate change. There is a very clear choice in this parliament. Everyone on this side understands the importance of dealing with dangerous climate change, putting in place the most cost-effective method to price carbon to secure our prosperity for the future.
Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I note how proud the Treasurer is of his scheme. He referred to the price of carbon in China which today is around $5 a tonne. How does the Treasurer reconcile that with the fact that in just two weeks the Australian carbon price is going to be $24.15 a tonne? How does that help Australian industry? (Time expired)
He is just showing how ignorant he is of this area of public policy. The effective carbon price for trade exposed industries is $1.30 in this country. We have put in place a scheme for trade exposed industries to absolutely secure their future.
It does not matter if we are talking about the carbon price and it does not matter if we are talking about levels of debt, those opposite are at war with the facts—they are at war with the 21st century, in fact. They are not interested in taking action against dangerous climate change. There has been a sea change among those opposite when it comes to this critical question of dealing with dangerous climate change, much to the embarrassment of the member for Wentworth. We on this side of the House have had the courage to put in place a long-term reform which will drive investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. I asked the Treasurer how he reconciles the price of carbon permits equivalent in China at around $5 a tonne with those in Australia at $24 a tonne.
We have put in place a scheme which is the most cost-effective way of pricing carbon. Those opposite simply do not understand either the economics or the science of dangerous climate change. We on this side of the House do. We understand the importance also of the renewable energy target and having our economy driven by renewable energy and more energy efficient practices. They are just demonstrating their ignorance and unfitness for high office.