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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13608

Mining


Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (14:15): My question is to the Prime Minister. How is the government spreading the opportunities from mining the resources that Australians own?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:15): I thank the member for her question and I thank her for her interest in how in this phase of our economy's transformation and change we are going to ensure that Australians around the nation get their fair share. As a Labor government when this nation was confronted by the global financial crisis, we did what needed to be done to keep Australians in jobs, because we were determined that in that phase of the nation's economy when that international threat loomed we would keep Australians working, and we are very proud of the track record of creating jobs in this country—more than 700,000 of them. We achieved that working with employers, businesses large and small, and also with the trade union movement to keep people in work.

Now, as we look at the circumstances of our economy, what we know is our nation is enjoying a resources boom, and that is a good thing. When we look at this, the Asian century, we know that the demand for our resources will be sustained over time and that the prices paid for them will be high against historic averages. In those circumstances, with a part of the economy turbocharged, with big mining companies making superprofits, many Australians are legitimately asking themselves the question, 'The resources boom is a good thing but what does it mean for me and my family?' The resources boom is a good thing now, but well into the future, in the days that lie beyond this resources boom, what will Australia do then? What will our economy look like then? These are legitimate questions being asked by Australians. In the House of Representatives in the early hours of this morning the government provided a substantial part of the answer.

The way in which we will manage this period of economic change is by having an efficient profits based tax for that section of the economy that is turbocharged and by using that to share opportunity around the country. How will those opportunities be shared? Working Australians can look forward to a better retirement as a result of this new taxation arrangement, backing in changes to superannuation from nine per cent to 12 per cent. That will mean an extra $108,000 in retirement income for a 30-year-old today. It will also mean growth in our $1.3 trillion pool of national savings and national assets so important to us during the global financial crisis. It will also mean tax relief for hardworking small business people who are taking the risks, who are doing the hard yards and who are working weekends to provide for themselves and their families and to employ other Australians. The measures will assist 2.7 million small businesses employing around five million people. At the same time, we will cut the company tax rate to share the opportunity and jobs which come with the resources boom. Because we understand that mining bring benefits but it also brings hunger for infrastructure in mining communities, we will invest $6 billion in the infrastructure the nation needs.

This is the right economic policy setting for this period of our nation's growth and transformation. It is about jobs, it is about growth, it is about fairness to working Australians and it is a stark contrast to the relentless negativity, the saying of no, no, no by the opposition as they did last night when they rejected superannuation for working Australians, rejected jobs growth for working Australians and rejected growth in our national savings. (Time expired)