Adjournment Debate - Carbon Pricing - Schultz
June 25, 2012
The Federal Member for Hume, Alby Schultz MP spoke in Federal Parliament today regarding the impact of the carbon tax upon small business and rising energy costs.
The following is Mr Schultz' speech in full;
Thank you for the opportunity, Madam Deputy Speaker. On 2 June this year, I celebrated 50 years of wonderful marriage to a beautiful woman. That beautiful woman presented me with a new wedding band and in that wedding band there is a piece of carbon. I was just wondering whether those geniuses on the other side would tell me how much emission this little diamond is going to emit to create a problem for us.
The other point that I want to raise tonight is the issue of the $36 billion tax on the Australian people in the way of a carbon tax. It is quite obviously not going to decrease carbon emissions and in fact emissions will increase from 2012 to 2020, by 578 million tonnes to 621 million tonnes. It is obviously a flawed policy reliant on shutting down power stations and buying carbon credits overseas where companies can come into this country and participate in the wonderful treasure trove that is there in the way of cash carbon credits from this incompetent government.
And what about wind turbines? Wind turbines are going up in ever-increasing numbers, dividing our communities and creating massive social problems. What do they produce, or what are they producing at the moment—and I do not think that it is likely to increase—about two per cent of our energy requirement. How the hell are we going to replace coal fired power stations and gas fired turbines and even hydro driven turbines which create and generate electricity with those sorts of inefficient energy replacements?
Electricity companies will pay the most, and they are passing that cost directly to customers. I have pensioners coming to me concerned about the fact that they are paying at the moment about 60 per cent more for their power than they paid for it last year, and many of them are turning their heaters off, going to bed and putting extra blankets on the bed to keep warm at night in this very cold time of the year.
I have had a contractor come to me who employed five people two years ago in his solar and electricity business. He was drawing about $1.6 million into his company. Two years ago it was $2 million. At the end of this financial year, he anticipates that he will only pull in about $300,000. He has dismissed all of his employees because he can no longer afford to pay them. He tells me that he has to supplement his income because he will not make enough money out of what he is producing to live his normal life with his family in the community. I asked him what the problem was and he said, 'Simply, Alby, people have stopped spending.'
That is a very significant part of what is happening in the retail business in this great country of ours. It is a national disgrace that any government of any political persuasion would bring this sort of penalty down on people who are working hard trying to make a living and being so rewarded for the Australian dream of many years.
I have spent a significant amount of my working life in abattoirs. I visited a number of abattoirs in the last two or three months to find out what is going to happen to them in terms of the 10 per cent hike in the carbon tax as well as what is going to occur with state parliament increases because of rundown infrastructure. The average electricity increase in those abattoirs is going to be about $120,000 a year. A company man from Sarajane Furniture in Cowra which employs about 130 people tells me he will be able to survive for about two years. He uses an enormous amount of machinery which requires a significant amount of electricity to process his furniture. He reckons that he can absorb the cost for about two years, but eventually the escalating price of the electricity is going to put him out of business.