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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Page: 2811


Mr McCORMACK (5:38 PM) —The level of Australian government debt is high and spiralling out of control. Taxation levels are high and getting higher under the Gillard government, which is addicted to spending. Prior to the 21 August election, this government promised there would be no carbon tax. Now the Prime Minister labours about why a carbon tax is not only a certainty but needed. Why is it needed? Why is a carbon tax, which will push business and household electricity prices through the roof, needed? We now hear horror stories of age pensioners who are not getting out of bed in the morning during winter, not because they are sick but because they cannot afford to turn the heater on to stay warm. The warmest place for them is to stay in bed. Is this the Australia we want for our future? Is this the Australia we want our children to inherit? I think not.

Our tax dollars are being wasted on such things as the Building the Education Revolution school halls rip-off and the Home Insulation Program—reasonable initiatives in theory but hopelessly carried out, like everything else this government touches. Why not a proper cost-benefit analysis on the National Broadband Network? It is going to cost taxpayers of this nation $43 billion of their hard-earned money. Since the government was elected—or was put there—it has spent $600,000 on an audit into defence spending. They have barely looked under a mouse pad, according to the shadow minister for defence. This spend-happy government is slugging average families—families already hurting, already struggling—more and more each and every day. Families are the backbone of this nation but they are having their backs broken by the spineless Gillard government, which so often says something and does the complete opposite.

Let us see the government be more transparent and tell the taxpayers of this nation where their hard-earned taxes are really being spent. It is not a paper chase, as the member for Maribyrnong called it; it is called transparency, being accountable, upfront, honest. Let us tell taxpayers where their taxes are being spent and how much tax they are paying proportionately within the federal budget. Despite inheriting a $20 billion surplus in 2007, the surplus left by the Howard government, naught dollars net debt and $60 billion in the Future Fund, Labor is delivering $78.5 million in net debt or $3,500 per person and has a budget deficit of $40.8 million, the biggest since World War II. Labor is borrowing $100 million a day. How can we as a nation continue with this debt while slugging our taxpayers in this way? We cannot, must not and, hopefully, will not. Many taxpayers get a tax return. They are not getting much return from those opposite. Let us hope that those opposite are not returned after the next election.

The coalition allocated $5.8 billion for water-saving infrastructure in the 2007 Water Act. Of that money, only $300 million of the $700 million which should have been spent to date has been rolled out. Not one cent has been spent in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, the food bowl of the nation. The hard-working irrigation farmers who sustain and feed this nation would like to know where their taxes are being spent because they are not being spent in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. A tax receipt for Australian taxpayers would tell the family farmers exactly where their money is going. I urge all to support the amendments put forward by the shadow Treasurer. If those opposite do not want to support these amendments, what are they trying to hide?