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Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Page: 238

Mrs D’ATH (2:44 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline for the House the economic benefits of the Nation Building and Jobs Plan and why it is so important that the plan be implemented as soon as possible?

Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —It is very important that this legislation passes the House this week. We have been advised by the tax commissioner and also by the chief executive of Centrelink that we do need key legislation through this House if the payments are to proceed through Centrelink in March and if the tax bonuses are to be paid by the tax office in April. That is just a fact. Given the urgency of what is occurring internationally, it is very important that there is no undue delay.

I have seen the Leader of the Opposition today talk about what we should be doing instead of, for example, providing the tax bonus and some of the other payments. He suggests that what we should do instead is bring forward the 2009-10 tax cuts. That was one suggestion yesterday. If you were to take the Leader of the Opposition’s suggestion, that would deliver $150 to a taxpayer on $30,000—only $150. There is no stimulus there. That is $800 less than our tax bonus that we will deliver in April. If you are talking about someone on $65,000, he only wants to deliver in that period $150—once again, $800 less than the tax bonus that we will deliver in April. Of course, he would deliver, through his proposition, $2,150 to a taxpayer on $200,000. That is a real indicator of the priorities of the Leader of the Opposition.

I think because I pointed out this mistake to him yesterday he changed his tune in the House today. I think in the House today he suggested that they would be in favour of bringing forward the tax cuts from 2010-11. I think that is what he said in the House today. If his proposal were to be adopted, that would result in $300 to a taxpayer on $30,000—$650 less than the bonus that we would provide in April. But, for somebody on $200,000, that would deliver $3,450 to that taxpayer—$3,450 more than they would receive through our temporary bonus.

But it is worse than that, because it goes to the point that I made to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition earlier, because they are arguing in favour of permanent tax cuts. If the proposition to bring forward the 2010-11 tax cuts were put and implemented by the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition’s proposed tax bring-forward would cost $11 billion, on a permanent basis—hence my observation earlier that they are in favour of higher deficits permanently.