13 July 2011 Transcript of 4BC radio interview with the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing and Gary Hardgrave
GARY HARDGRAVE: What is going to happen as a result of this regime? Maybe Peter Dutton, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing has some answers. Peter, will the carbon tax hurt our health industry?
PETER DUTTON: Good afternoon Gary. Well mate there is no question that it will. We know in an average 80 bed hospital, that the electricity and gas bill will go up by between $63,000 and $70,000 and I think that is just the start. If you look at doctors’ surgeries, a doctor who bulk bills does not have any discretion about the price that they charge obviously, so the Government rebate on Medicare is not going to go up, there is no compensation coming to a hospital or to a doctor’s surgery so therefore it will mean that people are going to have to be charged an out of pocket expense instead of being bulk billed, or the doctors are going to have to absorb the cost themselves, and I don’t think that is reality. This carbon tax operates I think much like a cancer, it is just intrusive into every aspect of our society. It is a cascading tax and every input into health, including all of the equipment that goes into hospitals, will have to go up, I don’t think it is the time at the moment that our hospitals can afford to be putting more money into inputs they should be putting into frontline doctors and nurses.
GARY HARDGRAVE: You get the feeling that this is just not even talked about. We don’t know who the 500 top polluters are – we are just now hearing the Brisbane City Council might be one of them. I mean what happens if say a major health provider or Ramsays, what a great health provider company they are, what if they are designated as one of the top 500?
PETER DUTTON: A classic example is Primary Healthcare, who run doctors surgeries and radiology, pathology around the country, they are almost certain to be included. Now they will just have to pass their costs on down the line and this is the problem. People who are being compensated 60 cents and 70 cents a week, they are going to have net left over after the Government has given them a bit of a handout. Well I mean that money is going to go nowhere and I think, where the real anger at the moment is Gary, is that people know that they are not being told the truth by the Government. They know that the Prime Minister has more spin than substance in this debate and I think that is why people say this is a bad tax for us. You don’t have a mandate to introduce it, explain more to us. At the moment, I know Wayne Swan yesterday was found wanting on radio, he couldn’t name or he couldn’t indicate how many companies from Queensland were in the top 500.
GARY HARDGRAVE: We now know it is about 120 or something. Per capita we have more of the top 500 than anywhere in Australia.
PETER DUTTON: So why not release the detail? I mean let people know. Company 501 who was included before is jumping for joy that they are not included. It is going to have an impact on every aspect of our lives, that is why I think people just don’t believe the propaganda that is being put out at the moment . If there is any environmental benefit I think that has been dismissed and now we know that not only will there not be economic benefit there will be economic harm out of it.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Peter, I want to be 100% accurate here, the break down of the polluters in the $23 tonne tax firing line that has been released shows 85 only in Victoria, 135 in NSW and the ACT, 110 in Queensland - so that’s 110 in Queensland, 75 in Western Australia and 25 in South Australia, 20 in Tasmania, 5 in the Northern Territory, 45 others operate across multiple States. So you can say if you proportioned the 45 you can put another 6 or 8 back into Queensland so I am probably pretty right with my 120 all up. Either way, the fact that we don’t know, how the heck are they going to change their habits if we don’t know who they are?
PETER DUTTON: Well they have to receive some sort of notification from the Government, presumably. If you look at the State Government itself , they can’t get any figures out of the Health Minister in Queensland but in NSW they predict their electricity and gas bill, just across the public hospital network, is about $90 million per year and their electricity and gas costs under the carbon tax will go up by somewhere around about 20%. That is an extra $18billion that they are going to have to find in NSW and Victoria is a similar story. Presumably when the figures do come out in Queensland it will be a similar story. I just don’t believe that there is any compensation for what I have seen for our hospitals and for our doctors and nurses and for our dentists, anybody who is operating in the Health sphere. See with the GST there was an exemption, you don’t pay GST when you go to see your doctor. This will impact on every health service that people use. Julia Gillard has not mentioned a word about that yet.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Well it is good that you are. Peter Dutton, you are no fool, can you work out how it is that they actually measure the carbon pollution, do they just capture a bit in a glass and say that’s that much space and they extrapolate it. Do you know how they actually work it out how many tonnes come out of these places?
PETER DUTTON: Well, I am no scientist by any stretch of the imagination Gary but I think they have an understanding of burning of particular fuels or creation of a certain energy produces so much carbon . The policing of this, the administration (interrupted)
GARY HARDGRAVE: They will all have to fly around and drive around in their tax payer funded cars to go and check all these joints out.
PETER DUTTON: Well it will come with billions of dollars of administration and extra layers of bureaucracy and unfortunately just like, I guess Anna Bligh has done at a State level, Julia Gillard is intent on drowning us with bureaucracy at a Federal level as well.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Well the member for Moreton says he reckons it is now neck and neck. It was a couple of weeks ago three to one against a carbon tax and it is now neck and neck. Now no spin, I’m not suggesting you ever do Peter, but what are they saying in the seat of Dickson
PETER DUTTON: Gary I have listened to people, I have only been in politics for 10 years, but with issues like Iraq which are most emotive in the community, people in small business were hurting at different times when we were in Government, I have never in ten years seen the reaction. You know people stopping me claiming that they have never voted for the Coalition before and never voted for me, they are angry, red hot angry, about this tax and it does not matter where I go whether in my seat, across Brisbane, across the country, people literally stop you in the street and say, you have to bring a stop to this nonsense. I think the member for Moreton is not hearing that message, he probably needs to open up the front door, walk out on to the street, talk to normal people, because people are angry about this.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Yes, I have never seen the middle Australia as activated as they are right now Peter. Anyway, good to talk with you. Peter Dutton, Member for Dickson, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing. Either way there is nothing good in anything he said there is there, no good news, but somebody at least is talking about it.