Page 3251 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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MR COE: How much does the carbon tax cost the ACT government?

MR CORBELL: Those figures are on the public record, and they have been on the public record for some time. I would refer Mr Coe to those.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, what is the territory government’s commitment to a carbon tax and/or a price on carbon?

MR CORBELL: The government’s position is that it is supportive of the most economically efficient mechanism to reduce the impact and the level of greenhouse gas emissions in our economy. That is why we have supported national reforms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an economically efficient way that delivers the lowest possible cost to consumers and taxpayers. It is remarkable, and it always has been remarkable, that the party that says it is an advocate of the market and market-based mechanisms is not interested in a market-based mechanism that reduces carbon pollution.

This government’s policy in relation to economically efficient market-based mechanisms to reduce the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and put a price on the externality of that pollution is well known and well understood. It is the same reason that this government has introduced legislation to save Canberra households money and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through the energy efficiency laws that have been rolled out to 70,000 households across the ACT. Those laws save households money. There is a market-based mechanism that saves households money—on average, $300 a year per household—and cuts greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the scheme by three-quarters of a million tonnes.

That is an example of a market-based mechanism that reduces emissions and helps save households money on utility costs—another law that was opposed by those opposite.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, why is it important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Corbell. It is a bit marginal, but I actually think that, on reflection, the initial question was a bit marginal as well.

MR CORBELL: It was. I thank Dr Bourke for his question and I will address the question in the context of the ACT community. Canberra, as a city, is obviously Australia’s largest inland city. It is located in one of the most climate vulnerable parts of the Murray-Darling Basin. It is highly reliant on and highly vulnerable to shifts in weather patterns in relation to its water supply and in its vulnerability to severe weather events such as extreme heat events and associated bushfire risks.

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