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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 9565

Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (17:08): This is another example of how the government treats small business. They give you the big picture, saying it will save this amount of money, that amount of savings, but then in the fine print they finally admit that, yes, some small businesses will be impacted. Then, when you ask for the detail or for the specificity of that, they try to deal with it in a broadbrush way. We in the coalition are concerned about every individual small business. We are concerned at how they might be impacted. We are concerned if small businesses will face increased costs and, undoubtedly, overall that will then run into literally millions of dollars for small businesses. It looks as though we cannot identify those small businesses. I am sure they will soon identify themselves.

In relation to the broad picture of the $2 billion savings to the economy, you are saying now that an unharmonised system—if I can use that term—will only lead to a small reduction of that $2 billion figure.

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

Senator ABETZ: You are not? All right, what is the figure?

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

Senator ABETZ: Yes, we were told $2 billion was the approximate productivity dividend to the economy through harmonisation. The government still insists on and pursues this figure of $2 billion when it is now absolutely clear to everybody that the laws will not be harmonised. New South Wales, courtesy of the ALP-Greens alliance in that state's upper house, has ensured it does not have harmonised legislation. Western Australia is expressing concern. South Australia has had fits and starts in relation to its determination. We still do not know exactly when this is proposed to start. Possibly, parliamentary secretary, you could indicate to us when you anticipate these laws to commence.