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Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Page: 2858


Ms SMYTH (La Trobe) (14:12): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline for the House the importance of putting in place the right policies to spread the benefits of the mining boom to all corners of the economy?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:12): I thank the member for La Trobe for this very important question. As we saw last week, the Australian economy continues to grow, and this is despite the turbulence we have seen particularly in Europe. We do have a very big investment pipeline in this country. Capital expenditure figures that were out last week showed that business is planning to invest a staggering $164 billion this year, and that is set to increase to $173 billion next year, which is a 28 per cent increase on the estimate last year.

Much of this investment is in resources. We understand that not everybody in our economy is in the fast lane of the resources boom and that there are many companies, particularly small businesses, that are not in that fast lane. That is why we must have the minerals resource rent tax and why we must use the stream of revenue from that tax to give some incentive and some extra lift, particularly to our struggling small businesses that are not in the fast lane of the mining boom. That is why we have brought this legislation out for public consultation and why we will be bringing this legislation to the House for passage through this House and through the Senate—because this will deliver a tax break for hundreds of thousands of small businesses in this country.

What does the Leader of the Opposition have to say about all of this? He says no. He says: 'No, I can't support that. No way could I support that sort of sensible legislation.' Why does he say no? Why is he constantly saying no? Because he believes that Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer should get a tax cut, not struggling Australian small businesses, so shame on the Leader of the Opposition.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will return to the specifics of the question.

Mr SWAN: The party of Menzies, supposedly the party of small business, is opposing in this House tax cuts to 2.7 million small businesses in terms of the instant asset write-off and this very important legislation which will come to the House. So I challenge all of those opposite to support this legislation in the House because it is vital to economic growth in this country. That is why we on this side of the House are so committed to tax reform which taxes the superprofits of the most profitable companies in the country and spreads it to every postcode across the country. That is what it does as—

Mr Randall: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Is it relevant for the Treasurer to have such a morbid fascination with Gina Rinehart?

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Canning will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order of 94(a).

The member for Canning then left the chamber.

Mr SWAN: It is a very important issue because the Leader of the Opposition wants to write an 11-figure cheque to Gina Rinehart and others like her. That is why this is such an important element of public policy. We on this side of the House want to spread the opportunity right around our country.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr Pyne: Scumbag!

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sturt will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a). I specifically heard him use the word 'scumbag'. Before he goes he will go to the dispatch box and withdraw that term.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I withdraw and I apologise for describing the Treasurer as a scumbag.

The member for Sturt then left the chamber.

Ms SMYTH (La Trobe) (14:16): Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for La Trobe will pause. The honourable member for Mitchell will remove himself under the provisions of standing order 94(a).

The member for Mitchell then left the chamber.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for La Trobe again has the call for her supplementary question.

Ms SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Treasurer spoke particularly about the government's works for small business and I wonder if he could update the House with some more detail about what small businesses and working people in my electorate and communities like mine can get from this.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:16): We want to see all businesses in the country benefit from the mining boom. We want to see the opportunities that are created spread right around our country. In the electorate of La Trobe the instant asset write-off will benefit 17,600 small businesses. But, of course, there will be a very significant boost to the superannuation savings of workers right around Australia and in La Trobe that will benefit 53,000 workers, because it is important to boost our national savings at a time of such large investment in our economy. It is also prudent to lift our national investment and at the same time lift the quality of life of people who are saving for their retirement. The other thing that we want to do is invest in critical infrastructure particularly in the mining region. So that is why we are backing the instant asset write-off, which will be particularly good for those that are wanting to buy a car: they can write off the first $5,000 of that. That will be very good for all those people that are driving utes. But also what we need to do is boost the superannuation savings of workers. If we are to successfully do all this we must bring our budget back to surplus because growth is coming back to trend. But we know why those opposite are opposing these cuts, because they have got a $70 billion hole in their budget bottom line. That is why they are saying, 'No, no, no.'