Constituency Statements: Bonner Electorate: Carbon Pricing
I rise today to highlight the risk this government is taking with its proposed carbon tax on jobs in my electorate of Bonner. Recently the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, the shadow minister for innovation industry and science, Sophie Mirabella, and I visited the Visy recycling centre in Murarrie, Brisbane. Visy is one of Australia’s largest recycling companies, collecting more than 1.6 million tonnes of paper and cardboard, more than 450,000 tonnes of glass, over 58,000 tonnes of plastics and more than 26,000 tonnes of metals. The Brisbane Visy plant undertakes very important work and for every tonne of carbon emissions this plant produces it saves 1.6 tonnes. Although this planet does emit carbon, net emissions are reduced because of its work, but Visy gets no recognition for the highly significant contribution it makes to landfill methane avoidance.
Despite its highly significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions, the Brisbane Visy plant will become one of the many victims of this government’s perverse environmental policy. By taxing this plant, emissions will not decrease, but will severely strain this company financially. In doing so, this tax will no doubt place jobs in my electorate in jeopardy and Visy Brisbane employs around 200 people. Visy is of the view that there is the opportunity to increase paper waste recycling even further beyond the current levels attained. In order to do so, the right carbon incentives need to exist to drive further investment. At the moment, energy and other costs are rising rapidly and even with energy efficiency and reductions in energy footprint, margins in paper remanufacture do not currently justify new investment. Government policy should be to encourage the expansion of recycling operations and not hinder the good work that plants like this do in reducing emissions. There is no doubt this carbon tax is bad policy.
I remind the House that even the government thinks that the carbon tax is a bad policy. As Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, said, ‘A carbon tax does not guarantee emissions reductions.’ This carbon tax will not clean the environment but it will harm jobs and it will clean up the wallets of everyday Australians.