May 30, 2012

Question Without Notice – Carbon Price and the Trucking Industry

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:34):  My question is for the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Will the minister advise the House on the impact of the carbon price on Australia’s transport industry, including the heavy vehicles sector? Is there any misinformation about this and how is the government responding to the misinformation?

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (14:35):  I would ask that the interjection that was just across the chamber be withdrawn. It was about a dead man. I think we have had enough of that and it should be withdrawn.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke):  Having met with Greg Wilton’s sister over the weekend, I am a little sensitive, as many would appreciate, to any mention of my dead friend. I will not have it thrown around this House, as his family is feeling it significantly at the moment. I will have no more. The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has the call.

Mr Abbott interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE:  If we are going to have the Leader of the Opposition say that was a rebuke of me, the person who said it should withdraw and then we will move on.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:  The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport will resume his seat. I will certainly clarify. I was not making the comment to anyone individually but to the entire parliament. There are quite a lot of references and issues that nobody in this place may think are issues but certainly Greg’s family are finding as such. I am just cautioning us all to be a bit more considerate. The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has the call.

Mr ALBANESE:  We are indeed well aware of the destructive negativity when it comes to this Leader of the Opposition and the carbon price.

 He goes around talking the economy down, he visits businesses and talks them down and he tells workers that they will be done out of a job. One company that has been a victim of this campaign is Nolans Transport, in Queensland. The Leader of the Opposition visited Nolans Transport, in Queensland, to talk up his scare campaign against the price on carbon. The response that occurred as a result of that company’s invitation was a talking down of that company, and that company regrets very much its invitation to the Leader of the Opposition. In this month’s issue of Australasian Transport News in an article headlined, ‘Nolans Fed Up over Dodgy Carbon Tax Claims’, they ping the carbon price campaign and the scare campaign being run this Leader of the Opposition. In this article, Mr Terry Nolan, the owner of the company, says:

‘… it wouldn’t cost us anything like the $3 million per year claimed in the email. We’re sick of people using our business as a political pawn without checking the facts.’

Mr Nolan went on to talk about the email that has been distributed talking down this company by saying, ‘Whoever sent it, it’s definitely for political reasons.’

What we need to do when it comes to the price on carbon is to have a rational discussion about what the facts are. There will be some increases in prices, though heavy vehicles, of course, are excluded from the scheme until 1 July 2014. We need to have a rational discussion including the support and assistance measures that have been put in place by this government.

Last Thursday I indicated that the Leader of the Opposition would be going to Kurri Kurri on the following Saturday. But he was not welcome in Kurri Kurri on the Saturday—he was not welcome to conduct the scare campaign. If you see this Leader of the Opposition coming to your business, I have a bit of advice for you: lock your doors, because this bloke will just talk down your business. He regards it as his role in life to talk down the economic position of businesses, to talk down the Australian economy and to try to scare Australian workers. That is the role he plays.

We are prepared to have a rational debate out there; this Leader of the Opposition is so desperate that he is prepared to tear down the economy and to tear down individual businesses.