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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Page: 2623

Minerals Resource Rent Tax

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (14:40): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline for the House the importance of spreading the benefits of the mining boom to all corners of the economy?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:40): I thank the member for Fremantle for that very important question because the government is determined to spread the benefits of the mining boom to every corner of the country and to every postcode in the country. We had the national accounts out for the September quarter last week. Our economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the quarter to be 2.3 per cent over the year. This was a strong result, a very solid result in very difficult global circumstances. What this means is that our economy has now grown more than seven per cent since the start of the global financial crisis, while something like three out of seven major advanced economies have not even got back to where they were. This is because we acted to avoid recession in this country, and because we did that we now have something like 700,000 more people in employment in Australia—something that everyone on this side of the House is really proud of.

We also understand that not everybody is doing well in this mining boom, which is why we are so determined to ensure the benefits of the mining boom are spread more fairly across our community. We have introduced the MRRT—which is going to be in the Senate in the next few weeks, opposed by those opposite—so that we can fund really important reforms particularly for small business. We are giving a tax break to 2.7 million small businesses; something like 18,200 of those are in the electorate of Fremantle. We are providing a historic boost to superannuation savings for something like 8.4 million workers and 48,000 of those workers are in the electorate of Fremantle. Also we are investing in infrastructure in mining regions.

Those on the other side of the House are determined to block these very important initiatives which are supporting our economy. Why are they doing that? To give a tax cut to Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer. We know where their bread is buttered. They are on the side of the vested interests.

Because our economy is returning to trend growth, it is also important that we return the budget to surplus. We on this side of the House are determined to return the budget to surplus. We know that those on that side of the House are running away from their surplus commitment because they have a $70 billion crater in their budget bottom line. This is what the shadow Treasurer had to say today at a doorstop when he was asked a question about surplus. He said:

Based on what we know now, we are doing all the costings. All our policies are costed.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will return to the question.

Mr SWAN: He then went on to say:

We have found the savings we were looking for.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will resume his seat. The Treasurer no longer has the call.