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Monday, 23 June 2003
Page: 17170

Ms JULIE BISHOP (2:13 PM) —My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Would the Treasurer advise the House of the principles behind the government's approach to taxation policy, particularly in relation to property and transaction taxes? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative policy approaches?

Mr COSTELLO (Treasurer) —I thank the honourable member for Curtin for her question. Can I indicate that from 1 July next the government will be introducing income tax cuts for every income taxpayer in Australia. For somebody who is on $25,000, it will be $300 per annum; for somebody on $45,000, it will be $200 per annum; for somebody on $60,000, it will be $450 per annum; and for somebody on $65,000, it will be around $573 per annum. This is the government which also abolished bed taxes, financial institutions duty and stamp duties on shares. We have a commitment from the states for the abolition of bank account debits tax shortly. But how does this compare with other governments around Australia?

Unfortunately, whilst the federal coalition government is cutting taxes, we now have a concerted campaign by Labor state governments to put up their taxes and to claw that money back. We have seen 300 fines and charges put up by Premier Bracks and an $88 levy on all electricity bills in Queensland—supposedly to pay for an ambulance. What is the connection between $88 on your electricity bill and an ambulance levy? Gaming taxes have been put up here in the ACT—but that tells only half of the story.

The state Labor parties are now ripping money out of average Australians in relation to properties. Let me give you the figures, Mr Speaker. In Western Australia in 2003-04, stamp duty went up 16.6 per cent. In Victoria in 2002-03, stamp duty went up 11.5 per cent. In South Australia in 2002, stamp duty went up 11 per cent. In Queensland in 2002-03, Premier Beattie put stamp duty up by 30 per cent. In Tasmania in 2002-03, stamp duty was put up by 24 per cent. Then we come to the grand-daddy of them all—the New South Wales government—which is bringing down its budget tomorrow. If you want to have an idea of what Labor does when it gets its hands on money, have a listen to this. When the Carr government was elected back in March 1999 the stamp duty on the average Sydney house was $8,556. In December 2002 tax for the very same house was $13,600—

Ms Plibersek —It has gone up in value!

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Sydney!

Mr COSTELLO —a tax rise on the same house of $5,000!

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Ballarat!

Opposition members interjecting

Mr COSTELLO —The Socialist Left interjects in defence. For the same house, after four years of Labor government, you now pay an additional $5,000.

The SPEAKER —I have warned the member for Sydney. She will excuse herself from the House under the provisions of standing order 304A.

The member for Sydney then left the chamber.

Mr COSTELLO —We would be expecting, in the New South Wales Labor government budget tomorrow, a tax cut—

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Grayndler!

Mr COSTELLO —To restore the situation, they would need to cut taxes by $5,000 on the same house. Stamp duty on conveyances in New South Wales over the last four years is up by 46 per cent. When you hear the Labor Party talk about tax, remember this: the Labor Party has one policy on tax—it is higher. The Labor Party has one policy in relation to houses—to keep the rates the same and to profit from price increases.

When this government introduced the $7,000 increase in the First Home Owners Scheme, we wrote to all of the state premiers and said, `Because this will be boosting construction in your state, will you please cut stamp duty for first home buyers.' Mr Speaker, which of the six Labor states do you think accepted that offer? Not one of them. Not one Labor state would cut its stamp duty in order to help first home buyers with the $7,000 Commonwealth grant. That is why the coalition is the party of home buyers. That is why young people are voting for the coalition: they know that this is the party of low interest rates and assistance for home buyers. Labor is the party of higher taxes and higher interest rates.