Bunbury’s biggest industries, employers on Carbon Tax hit list

Speech in Parliament – “The Labor Party’s carbon tax is a direct attack on Australian households and businesses. It is a new tax on every power point in every house and business, and we have now had confirmation that it will rip millions of dollars out of a number of businesses in the south-west of Western Australia.

The release of the incomplete liable entities list last week confirmed the bad news for some key service providers and employers.

The list of companies operating in the Forrest electorate that are included in the government’s carbon tax hit list include: Alcoa, Alinta, Worsley Alumina, the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas pipeline, Verve Energy, Synergy, Iluca, Millenium Inorganic Chemicals, Simcoa, the Griffin Coal Mining Company now owned by Lanco Infratech, Water Corporation, Wesfarmers Kleenheat Gas, Wespine and Yancoal Australia Ltd.

All of these companies will have to review their operations and will have no choice but to work out how, in tough economic times, they will either absorb or pass on the costs. The power companies Verve Energy and Synergy will have to put up their prices so we will all pay more for our electricity.

Verve faces a $165 million tax hit on its Collie operations alone. Alinta will have to pay the carbon tax, so we can all expect to pay more for gas. Added to this, the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline will also be hit. They will have to pass on this cost by raising the price of gas supply to Alinta, who will in turn pass it on to consumers—so gas prices will take a double carbon tax hit. This is just one simple example of the compounding effects of the carbon tax.

The Water Corporation will pass on this new tax to its customers, so a lot of the south-west’s residents will be paying more for water and sewerage. A lot of private companies will not be able to pass on the cost of the tax because they sell into competitive international markets, but their market competitors here and overseas will not have to pay this tax.

What a gift that is to Australia’s market competitors! Alcoa, Worsley, Iluca, Millenium, Simcoa and Wespine will have to absorb the cost of this new tax. It will impact on their bottom lines, undermine any expansion plans and could threaten jobs into the future.

Simcoa, for example, faces a tax hit of $2.5 million every year, before any industry assistance it might get, and if they continue their expansion they could be hit for every furnace they add. They will be hit. This will be on top of a minimum 10 per cent increase in power costs and increased gas costs which will also cost the company millions.

Whilst these companies may get some compensation in the way of free permits, they still face major carbon costs, and a cost that will increase from $25 to $29 a tonne in three years. Coal suppliers to our power stations are expected to be hit by the carbon tax, but they may not be able to recoup the cost due to long-term, set contracts. This will have a negative impact on an industry beset with problems.

Of course, companies not on the list should take no comfort. An incompetent government has, naturally, produced an incomplete list. Labor’s legislation means any company producing over 25,000 tonnes of emissions is required to measure their emissions and pay the tax. But many companies do not yet know what they emit.

There are hundreds of Australian companies that may have emissions of that level who will now be looking and spending thousands of dollars working out what their emissions actually are so that they can then spend millions paying Labor’s tax.

I want to warn companies, particularly those in my electorate, that the government is not going to advise you if you are liable to pay the carbon tax. So, do not take any comfort from that incomplete list that you saw a week ago. The government has placed the responsibility and the liability firmly onto you as a company and you as part of the industry.

There will be others around the south-west, other than those on the comprehensive list that I mentioned, who do not know yet whether they will have to pay this new Labor government carbon tax. Businesses face significant penalties if they get it wrong.

It is another cost, it is another risk and it is another major burden for businesses to carry. As I said, there are a number of businesses and entities in the south-west that will be impacted on.

Look at the millions and millions of dollars that this government is going to rip out of the south-west of Western Australia. More from the south-west! It comes from a Labor Party giving us an incomplete list, threatening industries, hitting on households, and it is no doubt an incompetent government.