Page 123 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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Despite this, the Labor-Green coalition is implementing policy that will see electricity prices skyrocket by implementing their 90 per cent renewable energy target for all Canberrans. Requiring households to have 90 per cent renewable energy based on today’s cost and the average household use of electricity would see electricity bills increase by $490 a year. That is just for the average household. Where there are more people in the household, it could be many hundreds of dollars more. Labor and the Greens argue in response that the cost of renewable energy will decrease over time, but the federal government’s energy white paper states:

While many clean energy technologies are currently not cost-competitive, that is expected to change dramatically over the next two decades.

Two decades, Madam Speaker. They are saying to Canberra families, who are feeling those cost pressures now, who have seen their electricity prices increase by 17 per cent just in the last year, that in two decades, under the 90 per cent renewable energy target, they will start to see some decreases potentially as renewable energy becomes cheaper. We can all be committed to renewable energy, but we need to be conscious of the cost impacts on households. There does not seem to be much, if any, thought going into it from the Labor-Greens coalition’s point of view. There seems a dogged determination to push ahead with a 90 per cent target come what may.

I would remind members that the 20 per cent renewable energy target that exists nationally does not come without costs. A 20 per cent renewable energy target is a challenging thing for our nation. It does involve costs. It is something that has been signed up to in a bipartisan way federally. What we are being asked to do and what is being implemented by this government is not a 20 per cent target but a 90 per cent target, with all of the additional costs that come with that.

Let us look, in the time that I have left, at some of the detail in relation to the government’s tax reform. The government have $350 million of taxes they want to abolish which they have shown in the 2012-13 budget papers will be through property rates. Pre reform, the abolished taxes are conveyances, $294 million; duties on insurance, $44 million; duties on life insurance, $2.3 million; and the proposed payroll tax cut, $6.8 million, totalling around $350 million. That is $2½ thousand per household per annum when that amount is transferred on to rates.

The government tell us that this will be done for the cost of a cup of coffee a week. That is what they have said; that they can do it for a cup of coffee a week. Well, we know that already people are seeing increases in relation to this change—in Hackett, 20 per cent; in Turner, 27 per cent; in Chifley, 17 per cent; in Hughes, 25.9 per cent; in Duffy, 17 per cent; in Chapman, 21 per cent; in Hawker, 25 per cent; in Griffith, 32½ per cent; in Red Hill, 44.79 per cent and in Narrabundah, 26 per cent—to name but a few. That is not a cup of coffee a week. That is the first year of the reform and people are already seeing those massive increases.

We were told that it was going to be fairer and more equitable; it was going to be not just efficient but fairer. We had the only person going out there publicly and defending the government’s tax reform in the week leading up to the election, Ben

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