The Labor Government is out of touch and disconnected with the impact that Australia’s new carbon tax will have on jobs in the Latrobe Valley and its promised assistance package of $200 million will be well short of what’s required,” according to Nationals Senator, Bridget McKenzie.
During the committee stage of the Clean Energy Bill yesterday, Senator McKenzie questioned Ministers on the carbon tax and its direct impact on jobs in Gippsland. She specifically asked about the region’s ability to access regional assistance packages.
“It was a simple question about how many jobs would be lost in the Valley as a result of the tax and what assistance might be available,” Senator McKenzie said.
“This government does not understand our industries or regional communities if it thinks a serious question about the socio-economic impact of the tax on working families in the Latrobe Valley was being “made up.”
Senator McKenzie said The minister’s response to the reality of this impact was to say that, “all of these measures will strengthen industry right across Australia.”
“The modelling simply does not back the minister up when it comes to the Latrobe Valley” Senator McKenzie said.
The Government has promised targeted assistance of $200 million from the Regional Structural Adjustment Assistance Package designed for regions that will be ” acutely socio-economically impacted” by the negative effects of the carbon tax.
“I have grave concerns about the adequacy of the package to support regions throughout Australia that will be so negatively impacted by this tax,” Senator McKenzie said.
“And what is the criteria for this promised assistance? How do we judge who is severely impacted and who’s not?”
When Minister Wong was asked during Senate Question Time, she also didn’t – or couldn’t – answer the question. Senator McKenzie’s questions can be found on Hansard on page 2 at: http://aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/dailys/ds081111.pdf