House debates

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Questions without Notice

Carbon Pricing

2:31 pm

Photo of Louise MarkusLouise Markus (Macquarie, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Industry. I refer the minister to AGL's submission to the New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal that shows that gas prices will be $76 lower next year without a carbon tax. How will repealing the carbon tax ease the cost of living pressures placed on Australian households?

2:32 pm

Photo of Ian MacfarlaneIan Macfarlane (Groom, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Macquarie for her question and I know that she is constantly in touch with the 10,000 small businesses that operate in her electorate and acutely aware that they are facing increased energy bills because of the carbon tax. At a time when being competitive and efficient is so important for small business, they do not need this carbon tax to continue a day longer than today.

It is not just the small businesses in the member for Macquarie's electorate. There are of course small businesses all over New South Wales and all over Australia who are paying higher electricity and gas bills because those who sit opposite us are being obstructionist in the removal of a carbon tax, which Australia has already voted on at the last election in support of the position that those on this side of the table took—that is, to remove the carbon tax.

Along with small business, 1.2 million households in New South Wales are getting hit with this carbon tax every time they turn on their lights, every time they turn on their gas cookers and every time they heat hot water, yet those who sit opposite are quite happy, as the member for Macquarie has said, to allow the increase in electricity and gas bills not only in New South Wales but also right around Australia. They are quite happy to see the carbon tax continue and every Australian business get hit in the hip pocket because of the carbon tax and the higher electricity bills that go with it.

This point was highlighted by AGL, who supply electricity to residents in Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle, in their submission to the New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal. AGL noted that gas prices will be 5.6 per cent higher with a carbon tax than they otherwise would have been and that households would save money as a result of its removal. Those are AGL's words. What we want the Labor Party to do is realise that they are hurting big business, small business and households by this belligerent behaviour of opposing the removal of the carbon tax.

We have already seen the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry say:

Acting now to repeal the carbon tax would boost business confidence and should be part of a broader national push to reduce high energy costs.

Those who sit opposite are in favour of higher energy costs for small business and higher energy costs for households, and they should stop and think of others.