Ms LIVERMORE (Capricornia) (14:33): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Will the minister update the House on the facts since the introduction of the carbon price on 1 July? Why is it important that the government and the community rely on these facts instead of the scare campaign we saw in the lead-up to 1 July?
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (14:34): I thank the member for Capricornia for her very good question. Indeed, the scare campaign about a carbon price has hit a brick wall since 1 July. It has hit a brick wall as the reality has triumphed over the rhetoric. Prior to 1 July we were told that the sky was going to fall in. We were told that towns like Whyalla were going to be wiped off the map. I can inform the House, including the member for Rankin, that last Friday I flew over Whyalla on the way to Port Augusta, and it is still there. There is no crater in the ground. It is still there.
Of course, there was also Gladstone. In Gladstone on 11 March the Leader of the Opposition stood next to the member for Flynn and said that the price on carbon would—and I quote, ‘turn places like this into a ghost town’. That is what we were told about Gladstone. Whyalla would be wiped off the map, and Gladstone would be turned into a ghost town. Let’s have a look at the reality post 1 July. Pre 1 July—chaos; post 1 July—reality. Last week Qantas announced—and remember regional airlines were supposed to be gone after 1 July—that they will begin direct services from Sydney to Gladstone from next year. From 2013. There will be 1,200 people flying between Gladstone and Sydney every single week. It is pretty odd behaviour to fly into a ghost town, Madam Deputy Speaker, but that is what they will be doing.
What did the member for Flynn, who stood with the Leader of the Opposition at the about-to-become ghost town prior to 1 July, have to say about this announcement? On 13 September he welcomed it. He said: ‘It was a big vote of confidence for our community.’ So, prior to 1 July it is going to be a ghost town; after 1 July there is a big vote of confidence for the community. Far from being a ghost town, Gladstone is an economic power house which will continue to contribute to our economy. There is $56 billion of investment in pre LNG projects alone committed and planned in Gladstone.
But the Leader of the Opposition will not let the facts get in the way. These, of course, are the people who went to the RSPCA and said that the puppies and kittens were in danger as well. That was my favourite part of the scare campaign. Well, the chickens are coming home to roost as it comes down to the reality of the carbon price. This is ridiculous rhetoric from those opposite. (Time expired)
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.