It could cost as much as $35 billion to buy international credits. That’s money leaving Australia, going to overseas countries and funding their schools, their hospitals—the kinds of services that, quite frankly, Australians deserve and need.
My challenge is to the member for Port Adelaide. I want to know what he’s got against the workers at the Kimberley-Clark mill in Millicent in my electorate. This is a facility that produces toilet paper and tissue paper. It directly employs about 350 people in that community; indirectly, it’s about 450. Now, before those opposite rush off and say, ‘Oh well, they’re not environmentally responsible,’ this is an organisation that’s been recognised for its achievements in environmental sustainability. They’ve won several third-party sustainability awards over the past five years, and many of those awards directly resulted from the work they did at Millicent. This is my point: the reality here is that if you impose your policies on this business, there is a very high likelihood that this business will be incapable of continuing to operate. If that happens, guess what? We’re still going to consume toilet paper, we’re going to still need tissues, but they will come from overseas. They’ll come from jurisdictions that don’t have the kind of environmental regulation that we have in Australia, so, in effect, in your ill-advised attempt to reduce carbon emissions you will send this industrial effort overseas. In return, we will obviously lose those jobs, both direct and indirect, and we will import that toilet paper and tissue paper.
Leaving aside the carbon miles on a container load, if not a shipload, if not many shiploads, of toilet paper, this will be produced in countries that don’t have the kinds of regulations we do. And so effectively what you’re doing is exporting jobs and increasing emissions. That’s the real impact that this policy will have, because not only will you do that—increase carbon emissions from the transport of goods to Australia, export those jobs and force this industrial effort into jurisdictions that are less environmentally sensitive—but you’ll also impoverish Australia as a nation. And—light-bulb moment—only wealthy jurisdictions, only wealthy countries, can do stuff about their environment. Only wealthy jurisdictions can work to improve the environmental settings in their country. If you want to impoverish Australia, if you want to impoverish our fiscal position, then you make it much more difficult for Australians—and Australia as a nation—to care about and take a really strong interest in their environment.