South West will be hit hard by Carbon Tax

“Sadly, regional Australia is not merely the victim of government neglect; it seems to be the victim of an assault: the government’s carbon tax—that is what it is—for regional Australia. The carbon tax is the tax that the government cannot even seem to mention any more. It will hit rural and regional Australians—like those in my electorate—the hardest.

This is a tax that will drive investment, industry and jobs offshore. It is meant to make doing business in Australia far less competitive than those we compete with. It is Labor’s special tax, coming from every power point.

If you are watching, Labor’s carbon tax is coming at you, in every home and business in Australia. It is a tax that will see Australia’s emissions rise, not fall. It is a tax that will hit struggling regional areas hardest because it will tax transport—rail, air and marine transport immediately, and road transport from 1 July 2014.

In 2014, when road freight operators lose 6.858c a litre from their diesel fuel rebate to pay for the carbon tax, the cost to transport almost everything in rural and regional Australia will go up, and regional people and businesses will carry a disproportionate cost as a result.

It is a tax on rural and regional Australia. Have no doubt about it: transport costs equal a tax on rural and regional Australia.

That tax is expected to cost the transport industry and its customers $510 million in 2014-15 alone—and that is on top of the recent 2.4c a litre rise in the diesel fuel excise. This just means higher costs and greater impacts in regional areas.”

 

“Small business in Australia is simply asking for the opportunity to succeed, free from excessive government red tape, burden and interference. Every small business will be hit by the carbon tax in one form or another.

Some may be able to pass on this cost, but hundreds of businesses will not be able to pass on these costs. So this is a really serious issue in my electorate.

I noticed, in the government’s liable entities list last week, that many of those who will pay the carbon tax are from my electorate—businesses such as the Water Corporation; the Griffin Coal Mining Company; Simcoa Operations; Millennium Inorganic Chemicals; Iluka; Synergy; Verve Energy; Yancoal, the new owners of Premier Coal; Dampier Bunbury Pipeline, Worsley Alumina, Alinta Energy; and, further in the south-west, Alcoa Australia.

These are the companies that will have to pay the carbon tax directly, but every small business will pay it in one form or another. In talking about this, I would like to warn companies in my electorate—and I have done this previously—that the government is not going to advise you if you are liable to pay the carbon tax.

The government has placed this responsibility and liability firmly on industry. So there are other businesses around the south-west, other than those on the government’s liable entities list, which may have to pay the carbon tax.

This is the monumentally stupid and now infamous carbon tax, the carbon tax the Prime Minister and Treasurer both said we would not have.

I remember that in the lead-up to the last election any suggestion by the coalition that Labor would introduce a carbon tax was described by the Treasurer as ‘hysterical’.

It is a tax which clearly is not an environmental plan but is a wealth distribution scheme to meet Labor’s politics of envy and division of Australians.

I note that 104 local governments have also been approached by the Clean Energy Regulator in its search for new carbon tax targets, and it expects up to 70 per cent of them will pay up.

This list of 104 includes two in my electorate—Collie and Harvey shires. This means that the people of Collie and Harvey may well be paying additional carbon tax directly via their power bills or indirectly through increased transport costs on all their goods and may well be paying the carbon tax again through increased shire rates.

When it comes to transport costs, there are other carbon hits. Regional communities have food delivered in refrigerated trucks and they will be hit with the diesel carbon tax in 2014.

The refrigerant itself used to keep our food fresh will also be hit by the carbon tax. One large trucking company has already estimated their annual carbon tax cost for refrigerants alone at $180,000.

This cost will either have to be absorbed by transport companies, many of which are still finding business quite tough, or be felt by businesses and families. Every refrigerated truck taking food to Australian families will now be the carbon tax collector for the Labor government.

As time goes by, I have no doubt we will be inundated by other examples of businesses, families and communities being hit by more carbon taxes.

This is the tax the Treasurer called the very mention of, in the run-up to the election, ‘hysterical’. We were hysterical to even mention that the Labor government would do this. We were hysterical, yet here we have it.

This again is the tax about which the Prime Minister said only days before the election, ‘There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.’ Let me tell you that rural and regional Australians know very well that there is a carbon tax and that they are going to pay disproportionately, particularly through transport costs.”