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Tuesday, 25 June 1996
Page: 2708


Mr MARTIN(9.26 p.m.) —In my speech in the second reading debate in this chamber both last evening and today in continuation I indicated that I would be moving a series of amendments in this consideration in detail stage. Those amendments have been circulated in the chamber. I move:

After Schedule 1, page 3 (after line 11), insert:

Schedule 1A—Amount of grant

1   Paragraph 16(3)(a) (definition of Adjusted eligible expenditure )

   Omit the definition, substitute:

      Adjusted eligible expenditure means the eligible expenditure incurred by the claimant during the claim period, reduced by $15,000.

2   Paragraph 16(3)(b) (definition of Adjusted eligible expenditure )

   Omit the definition, substitute:

      Adjusted eligible expenditure means the eligible expenditure in respect of new markets incurred by the claimant during the claim period, reduced by $15,000.

3   Subsection 16(4) (definition of Adjusted eligible expenditure )

   Omit the definition, substitute:

      Adjusted eligible expenditure means the eligible expenditure incurred by the claimant as mentioned in paragraph 14(1)(c), reduced by $30,000.

4   Application of amendments

   The amendments made by this Schedule apply in relation to a claim for grant in relation to a period beginning on or after 1 July 1996.

These amendments affect schedule 1A, the amount of grant. In effect, this series of amendments simply puts into the legislation the policy and the promises of the coalition when in opposition in respect of extending the full grant of 50 per cent under the EMDG scheme to the tourism industry.

I remind the House of the coalition's policy before the last election. The policy headed `Destination Australia', the coalition policy on tourism, was prepared and released by Warwick Parer, the then shadow spokesperson. I refer to pages 11 and 12 of that document. That document says:

The Coalition will end Labor's discrimination against the tourism industry.

Tourism operators will be eligible to receive the full grant under the EMDG scheme.

The Coalition will change the EMDG legislation to extend the scheme to cover the cost of bringing buyers to the product, and allowing joint venture applications.

It can be no clearer than that. The coalition pledged before the last election that, as far as the tourism industry was concerned, the 25 per cent grant that Labor had put in place was not good enough. They pledged and they promised to the people of Australia and they promised and they pledged to the tourism industry of this country that they would extend that EMDG scheme to tourism fully at the 50 per cent rate. They said, again:

The Coalition will end Labor's discrimination by removing the provision that discounts applications of tourism operators to give them equity with all other EMDG applicants from all other industries.

It can be no clearer than that. That is their policy. In effect, they extended that by talking to industry leaders in tourism and saying that they would do that. In a report in the Canberra Times of 14 February 1996, under the headline `Howard woos tourism: industry tax break incentive', Warwick Parer is quoted as follows:

"The tourism industry contributes over $12 billion a year to our exports income and employs 500,000 to 700,000 people," Senator Parer said, "yet, the Labor Government declares it is only worth half the refund for international promotion costs under the EMDG scheme . . . A Coalition government is committed to ending this discrimination. Successful EMDG tourism applicants under us will get a full 50c in the dollar refund on international promotion the same way as any other applicant from any other industry.

"A Coalition government would also allow EMDG applicants to cover the cost of bringing overseas tourism buyers to Australia to see their product because it could not be taken to them. There would also be a joint venture provision to allow a group of tourism operators to come together to meet the minimum expenditure of $30,000 to seek a refund of international promotion costs under the EMDG scheme."

Earlier, Mr Howard—

the then Leader of the Opposition—

admitted to the breakfast that he had a "near obsession" with creating a climate providing the right incentives for small business to get going and employing people. The tourism package shows he meant it.

Nothing could be clearer than that. Every member of the opposition is duty-bound to come into this House tonight and to vote for these amendments which we are proposing. Every member of the coalition is duty-bound to support the extension of the EMDG scheme to the tourism industry. It is a minor amendment. It is simply putting in place the policy that they espoused before the last election. If they do not, it will be again an example of another broken promise.

Here is their chance to live up to their rhetoric, to live up to promises delivered not only by the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) but also by the then tourism spokesman. They should deliver on their promises. When they make promises, they should keep them when in government. Let's just see if they do that. Let's just see, when the vote is put tonight on these amendments, whether they have the courage of their convictions or whether this was simply another ruse, another deception. (Time expired)