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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Page: 2621


Mrs MIRABELLA (Indi) (14:31): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the decision of my constituent Ezio Minutello to close down the Annapurna Estate vineyard, and his statement: 'For me the carbon tax is the last straw. It's in absolutely everything—packaging, electricity, chemicals, you name it. The minister needs to get outside and actually see what is going on.' How many more businesses need to close before the Prime Minister admits her carbon tax is already killing jobs?'

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:32): To the member for Indi on the specifics of the business she refers to, of course I am very happy, and I am sure that Minister Combet is very happy, to make contact with this business if she wants to forward us the details. I or Minister Combet would be very happy to have a discussion about the circumstances of this business. As I travel and talk to people I find that, because of the reckless fear campaigning we have seen on carbon pricing from the opposition, many people are finding it difficult to work out exactly what it does mean for them, and I think that it is very important that people have the facts.

Mr Hartsuyker interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Cowper will remain silent!

Ms GILLARD: On the circumstances of small businesses—and I presume the business the member for Indi refers to is a small business—we do want to make sure that small business prospers and thrives in this country. That is why we are committed through the Minerals Resource Rent Tax to giving small businesses a tax cut, giving them a company tax cut early and giving them an instant asset write-off of $6,500 so that they can do investments in their business. This is very valuable to small business, but to do it you need to make sure that you are managing the budget properly and, as well, you need to be passing the Minerals Resource Rent Tax.

Mrs Mirabella: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of relevance. The question was about the carbon tax, not about the mining tax or any other tax that the Prime Minister wants to introduce. It was about the carbon tax.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will address the specifics of the question.

Ms GILLARD: I have assumed that the question is motivated by a genuine concern about a small business and, in making that assumption about the motivation of the question, I would have thought people would be interested in benefits for small businesses, benefits that will flow from 1 July this year. If people are not interested in those benefits for small businesses then I do really wonder about their motivations. People who care about small business would care about delivering a tax cut to small business. People who care about small business would be interested in delivering an instant asset write-off benefit for small business. On this side of the parliament we care about small business, and that is precisely why we are delivering those benefits and why we are prepared to say that in the resources boom we have now we should be sharing the benefits with the many, not the few. I understand that the member for Indi and the Liberal and National parties would prefer to benefit a few billionaires, but that is not our approach.

We also want to make sure that the voice of small business is heard at the cabinet table, so I have taken the opportunity of the recent change in ministerial arrangements to make sure that the small business voice is directly at the cabinet table. We will continue to work with small businesses for a prosperous future. I presume we will continue to see fear campaigning and denial of benefits from those opposite.