QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE: Budget
Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (14:33): My question is to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Household electricity prices, over nine years of corporatisation, have soared from $860 to $2,100. Petrol prices, following the refusal to mandate ethanol, soar 50 per cent above prices in Brazil and America. Whilst having the world's cheapest land, Australia pays the world's highest housing prices. With farm incomes falling disastrously and food prices rising and rising, can he explain why these real issues are not being addressed in this budget?
Mr TRUSS (Wide Bay—Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:33): I thank the honourable member for Kennedy for his question. I acknowledge that many of the issues he raised in his question are important, they are important to our nation and they will be important in tonight's budget. If he can fit it into his busy schedule to actually be present this evening to hear the budget, he will hear a response to each of the particular issues he has raised.
The first question was in relation to household electricity pricing. In tonight's budget, you may not be surprised to hear, we intend to deliver the end of the carbon tax. The end of the carbon tax means lower electricity prices. It will make a difference to all Australians, and I trust that the member for Kennedy will join the members on this side of the House, when it comes to a vote or when it goes to a vote in the Senate, to make sure that the majority of the people in the House actually deliver those cheaper electricity promises that we will be committing to in tonight's budget.
The member for Kennedy referred also to the role of ethanol in the nation's fuel mix. We have been supportive of the ethanol industry in the past, and the budget tonight will be fair also to the ethanol industry. We are working very closely to ensure that our economy works efficiently, that we deliver better infrastructure—I might add, including in the member for Kennedy's electorate—and that will help to make our economy work better. That will give a better opportunity to our farmers also to be able to get their products to the market in the cheapest and most effective way.
Then the member spoke about the real challenges that farm incomes face. The Minister for Agriculture will be talking tonight about the fulfilment of our election commitments to the agricultural sector which will help build a better future for agriculture. In relation to so many of these issues about farm income, members will also be interested, in tonight's budget, to hear reports of the successful negotiation by the minister for trade of new free trade agreements with some of the best markets in the world—the markets that can deliver the best possible returns to Australian farmers.
So there will be good news in tonight's budget as well. There are some tough decisions that have to be made; but there is good news which will deliver real benefits to people who live in regional Australia and help ensure that our economy grows more strongly in the future.