Thursday, 17 July 2014
Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, True-up Shortfall Levy (General) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, True-up Shortfall Levy (Excise) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Customs Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Excise Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) (Transitional Provisions) Bill 2014; In Committee
The minister is wrong because all the minister is doing is referring to Minister Hunt's second reading speech by saying that that is how they have made it clear that this applies with regard to selling into the wholesale market, but that is not what is in the legislation. So the government is refusing an amendment which clarifies the situation. I think that is a very sad thing.
Before we vote on this amendment I would also like to have the minister clarify what he said yesterday. In here he said yesterday that airlines and supermarkets would be legally required to remove the carbon price. In fact, that is not the case. I note in the ACCC's brief to the big polluters—the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network—that despite the ambiguity in the final form of the repeal bills the ACCC would only enforce price reductions for electricity and gas retailers and bulk importers of synthetic gases used in refrigeration and air-conditioning. They would not be enforcing price reductions anywhere else.
So the minister needs to clarify that. The ACCC is telling people that they would only be doing that. I think this really puts the lie to the government's claim that they will be forcing price reductions on everything. They cannot and they will not. The ACCC went on to say that, under the false and misleading conduct powers, they will be looking at the public statements made by companies in relation to what they have done. But that is a vastly different thing from the enforcement of price reductions.
It is very clear on the record, from the ACCC now, that the only enforceable price reductions will be electricity, gas and synthetic greenhouse gases. For everything else there will be no requirement, and therefore the $550 claims about the community being better off are simply hot air. I would like the minister to clarify: is the government's understanding and intent the same as what the ACCC said yesterday? Isn't that the case?