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Thursday, 5 February 2009
Page: 630


Mr HARTSUYKER (10:48 AM) —I raised in my contribution to the debate on the stimulus package unintended consequences of that package. I questioned whether the package was an optimal solution. I certainly questioned the fact that we had to take the Prime Minister on trust that the package being put forward by this government was in fact optimal. The Prime Minister has form on unintended consequences because of policies that have not been properly thought through.

Last night in my contribution, I brought to the attention of the House one such unintended consequence in relation to the sale of second-hand trucks. I would like to expand on that this morning in this chamber. A business in my electorate, Mid Coast Trucks, a substantial employer in the town of Macksville, where unemployment is high and where jobs are highly valued, is being adversely affected by a poorly thought through policy. The fact is that if you purchase a new truck you will be eligible for the tax rebate under the stimulus package. If you purchase a second-hand truck you will not be eligible. We questioned the Treasurer’s office on this. We asked for clarification. Is this true? Are second-hand trucks not going to be the subject of the rebate? They said that is correct. They felt that more jobs would be created if the rebate went to new trucks. But nothing is further from the truth. For a start, many new trucks are imported. In the case of the sale of second-hand trucks they are, in many cases, substantially reconditioned. That reconditioning can include work on the engine, work on the chassis, new windscreens and new tyres.

A lot of work goes into the reconditioning of a second-hand truck, and that work could be done locally in the community by local tradesmen. In the case of the purchase of a new truck, which is just shipped in from overseas and virtually sent straight to the purchaser of that truck, there is little local input going into it. Here we have a consequence where there is a tax break at a cost of $2.7 billion to the taxpayer—that is, a 30 per cent rebate available for the purchase of a new truck, which is imported and which supports workers in Japan or another overseas country. When it comes to a local worker in the town of Macksville whose job is dependent on reconditioned trucks, purchasers of trucks are being encouraged through this tax break to move from the purchase of a used truck with a high local labour content to perhaps a new truck, which is fully imported with very little local labour content. This just highlights the fact that this package has not been fully thought through. We have a $2.7 billion cost to revenue—a cost to revenue that is actually potentially detracting from local jobs and detracting from the ability of young people to get an apprenticeship in the field of truck repair and maintenance, and it is quite clearly of concern.