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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 9527

Mining


Senator BILYK (Tasmania) (14:07): My question is to the Minister for Small Business and Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Sherry. How is the Gillard government helping small businesses grow, increase productivity and create jobs? How will the government use the proceeds of the mineral resources rent tax to deliver the benefits of the mining boom to all Australian small businesses?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:08): In addition to the very important point that Senator Evans, as Leader of the Government in the Senate, made that we have kept the Australian economy strong over the last four years in the face of world recession, that we have created more than 700,000 new jobs when in many comparable advanced economies they have been losing jobs, the fact that we have kept the Australian economy strong has been particularly important for small business in this country.

We intend to go further. Now that the mining tax has passed the House of Representatives and will pass the Senate next year, part of that tax reform package has important and significant tax cuts for small business. There are more than two million small businesses in this country. They are vital to our economy, providing jobs for almost five million Australians. Part of the tax package, which is funded by the mining tax, which we are also very proud of—another important, positive contribution to strengthening the Australian economy—is to deliver significant tax cuts to small business. There is an instant write-off of up to $6,500 for each asset acquired by small business and simple depreciation rules to save time and money.

As I have mentioned, this important and very significant tax cut—one of the most significant tax cuts for small business that I can recollect in 20 years in this place—will cost over a billion dollars. My attention was drawn to a statement by the shadow assistant treasurer, Senator Cormann, who said, 'We will not proceed with any of Labor's other promises which they have attached to their mining tax'. (Time expired)


Senator BILYK (Tasmania) (14:10): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. How will the government's use of the revenue from the minerals resource rent tax deliver the benefits of the mining boom to all Australian superannuation fund members and how will these policies improve the superannuation outcomes of female workers?

Honourable senators interjecting


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:11): In other words, what Senator Cormann has said is that the Liberal Party in the run-up to the next election will reverse the small business tax cuts—$1 billion of tax cuts for small business.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Sherry, resume your seat. Obviously, people are excited. I ask people to exercise a bit of calmness. We need to hear the answer.

Senator SHERRY: I am not just excited; I am angry because the Liberal Party is going to increase taxes on small business in this country. It is going to increase $1 billion in new taxes on small business. In addition to that, this Labor government is very proud that it is effectively going to remove the contributions tax from 3½ million AustĀ­ralians. Three-and-a-half million Australians are effectively going to have the contriĀ­butions tax removed. Again, Senator Cormann yesterday indicated that in the run-up to the next election the Liberal Party is going to increase taxes on 3½ million Australians' superannuation. I look forward to the debate, Senator Cormann. The Liberal Party stands for increased taxes. (Time expired)

Senator Cormann: No, we're not.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senators Wong and Cormann, I remind both of you that the time to debate this is at the end of question time.






Senator BILYK (Tasmania) (14:12): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Is the minister aware of any dangers or threats to the Gillard government's tax relief program for millions of Australian small businesses and workers?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:13): As I have indicated on many occasions, and will continue to emphasise, the Labor Party, with the proceeds of the mining tax, which we are proud of, intends to implement a billion dollars in tax cuts for small business. We intend to cut the contributions tax for over 3½ million low- and middle-income workers' superannuation, of whom six out of 10 are women. Senator Cormann declared yesterday that in the run-up to the next election the Liberal Party, because they have promised to scrap the mining tax—they are saying no to it—they are also saying no tax cuts for small business and no tax cuts for superannuation. All they can do is say no. I wish them a happy Christmas and I hope they find some policy under the Christmas tree. (Time expired)