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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Abbott ducks and weaves but can't explain $1100 claim

Media release
30 December 2009
PG/414

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In his press conference today the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, was asked five times to back up his claim that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme would increase costs to the average family by $1100.

Mr Abbott has put personal credibility on the line when it comes to this $1100 figure.

He has personally endorsed and vouched for this figure.

But five times he was asked to explain his claim and five times he ducked and weaved.

JOURNALIST: You’ve said that the average household will pay an extra $1100 under the ETS. Where did you get that figure?

ABBOTT: That is based on reports of the Government’s own modelling.

JOURNALIST: Because they say you’ve just pulled that out of thin air.

ABBOTT: Well, well, let- this is their ETS. If they want to deny, if they want to deny things, they should come clean with the full story.

JOURNALIST: But how did you calculate it?

ABBOTT: This is their ETS. This is their ETS. It is for the Government to explain exactly what the impact of this ETS is. And the best that they can come up with so far is an admission that half of middle income households will be worse off.

JOURNALIST: So did you pull that $1100 figure out of thin air

ABBOTT: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. This is their Emissions Trading Scheme. It is up to them to justify exactly what is going to happen to people under this scheme. And so far they have lamentably, lamentably, failed to do so. We had the Deputy Prime Minister asked seven times what would the impact be on families, and she was unable to say on Lateline just before Christmas.

JOURNALIST: So where did that $1000 figure come from?

ABBOTT: The fact is this is the Government’s scheme, and it is up to them to explain precisely what its impact will be on Australian households. And the best they can come up with so far is to say that only 50% of middle income households will be better off. Inevitably, if this is the best they can do, most middle income households are going to think ‘I’m going to be in the group that are going to be worse off’. So, Mr Rudd has a real problem here, he can’t explain precisely what the impact of his great big tax will be on Australian families, particularly middle income families.

You can’t run an Opposition by just making things up.

Mr Abbott’s failure to back this figure up with reliable, accurate and relevant modelling is further proof that he cannot be trusted on climate change. The reality is that credible economic analysis on the impact of the CPRS is contained in detailed modelling undertaken by the Treasury – the biggest economic modelling exercise in Australian history.

The impact on households is based on this modelling, and has been updated to reflect changes in the expected carbon price.

It found that the CPRS would cause prices to rise by 1.1 per cent in 2013 – on average costing $624 a year.

To help with cost increases, the Rudd Government will provide direct cash assistance to most Australian households.

A total of 90 per cent of all households will receive assistance and on average these households will receive around $660 of compensation in 2013.

On average low income households are $190 better off under the CPRS – because the average price impact for low income households is $420, while their average annual assistance is $610.

There are two simple facts Mr Abbott cannot avoid.

The first is that there is no cost free way to tackle climate change.

The second is that Mr Howard, Mr Costello, Mr Turnbull and the Rudd Government all chose a CPRS to act on climate change because:

Over thirty countries, including all of Europe, Japan, the United States of America, and New Zealand have either introduced or are introducing a CPRS.

© Commonwealth of Australia