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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Page: 2617

Mining


Mr SYMON (Deakin) (14:17): My question is to the Prime Minister. How is the government governing in the interests of working people by spreading the benefits of the mining boom? Why is it important to deliver benefits for working people and their families while having a clear plan to return to surplus?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:17): I thank the member for Deakin for his question and I thank him for his advocacy in this parliament for the people of Deakin. He does a great job raising their concerns in this parliament. Amongst their concerns is the question: how will our nation fairly share the proceeds of the mining boom? Will we use those proceeds of this once-in-a-generation, indeed once-in-a-hundred-years, opportunity to enrich a few people or will we use the proceeds of the boom to help the many?

As a Labor government, we have been very clear about our choices and the decisions we have made. We are determined that this resources boom benefits the many—that it benefits the many across Australia and that it sets our nation up for a prosperous future. That is why, determined to benefit the many, we have decided that there should be a tax cut for every company. The Leader of the Opposition wants less tax paid by wealthy miners. We say instead, during this resources boom, we should get a fairer share from wealthy miners and use that to benefit businesses around the nation, including, particularly, small businesses, because we understand around the nation and in electorates like Deakin there are many working people for whom the greatest aspiration is to run successfully their own small business.

We have also determined to share the benefits for the many by doing what government needs to do to enable superannuation contributions to rise from nine per cent to 12 per cent. We have determined as well to build infrastructure, because the mining boom is hungry for infrastructure, and that makes a big difference for the communities that are yielding wealth for our nation. We want them to have the infrastructure that they need. In all of this, we have taken an approach driven by Labor values and very transparent. We have said to the Australian people, 'These are the things that we want to do,' and we have set about doing them piece by piece.

This is a stark contrast to other approaches to politics in this place. We have, for example, said to the Australian people that we will as a government continue to take the tough decisions necessary to return the budget to surplus. They will be tough decisions, but they will be transparent decisions and everybody will be able to judge them on budget night. In contrast, the Leader of the Opposition has to slash and burn $70 billion in services for working families to even get to the starting line as to where the government is now preparing its budget. Since the parliament last sat, he has committed to keeping these cuts secret and hiding behind a commission of audit. Australians deserve to see a budget in surplus and they deserve to transparently know what it means for them and their families. (Time expired)