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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 5409

Mr TREVOR (4:46 PM) —I rise today to speak on Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2010-2011, Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2010-2011 and the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2010-2011. In speaking on these bills today I want to reflect on the economy in general and also to speak more broadly on the 2010-11 budget and the effects it will have on my home electorate of Flynn in Central Queensland.

As our Treasurer Wayne Swan said on budget night, of Australia’s 18 years of continuous economic expansion, Australians can be proudest of the one just passed. I could not agree more with this comment. As the local federal member for Flynn I reflect on the challenges faced just 12 months ago, I am proud of what our great country has achieved. Twelve months ago the people in my electorate of Flynn, and indeed people everywhere in Australia, were gripped with that crippling fear at the hands of the global financial crisis. It was in fact a fear that made each working day sombre, the mood despondent. Certainly the air of unease was present on the many, many mining, industrial and construction sites in my home town of Gladstone and across the electorate of Flynn.

It was in fact a fear that each day the workers carried with them, constantly aware that at any moment their employer could give them a tap on the shoulder to tell them that they no longer had a job. Sadly, it was a fear that turned into a reality for hundreds and hundreds of good men and women in the electorate of Flynn. But today, as a result of sound economic management by the Rudd Labor government, as a country we stand having avoided a recession and we have emerged in the position of economic strength. Indeed, my home electorate of Flynn, which I have described as the industrial powerhouse of the nation, is now on the cusp of a major unprecedented economic boom. Multiple new projects worth billions and billions of dollars are ready to commence in the imminent future across the whole of the electorate of Flynn, creating thousands of new jobs and dwarfing any other boom that has ever been seen before.

Today as I move around the electorate of Flynn I see that the fear is gone. It has been replaced with a sense of renewed energy, keenness and some impatience as people eagerly await the imminent growth and prosperity which will come, which our government has set the platform for through its action in the budget.

The 2010-11 budget aims to build on the successes we have had as a nation during the global recession, creating a stronger and more secure economy for working families. With responsible and sound economic management, our government will halve peak debt and get the budget back into the black in three years—that is, three years early and well ahead of any major advanced economy in the world. Our government and the Treasurer of Australia, Wayne Swan, are to be commended. On behalf of the people of Flynn, I thank them.

Our government has put in place strict spending limits to ensure that we get back to surplus within three years and has also put in place key investments to prepare our country for the future. These include new investments in health, hospitals, skills training and infrastructure, the Renewable Energy Future Fund to tackle climate change, tax cuts and less red tape for small business, better superannuation, tax breaks on interest, a standard deduction to make tax time easier for working families and more money to protect our troops and our borders. All of this and still there will be a return to surplus three years ahead of schedule.

For small businesses the budget will provide a very positive tax break. Sole traders, partnerships and incorporated small businesses will all be able to instantly deduct the cost of assets valued at up to $5,000. There will also be a reduction in the company tax rate, down from 30 per cent to 28 per cent from 1 July 2012. This means that every single one of the 13,809 small businesses in Flynn will get a tax break under the Rudd Labor government.

An integral part of this year’s budget is the funding allocated for health care. The government is investing some $7.3 billion over five years, including 2009-10, to create the National Health and Hospitals Network. The 2010-11 budget delivers a further $2.2 billion package of investments to the National Health and Hospitals Network over four years. This massive injection of funding is working towards our government’s goal of better hospitals and better health for every Australian.

Another fundamental investment made in the budget is the funding to help raise the quality of services provided by budget based funded childcare centres. Undoonoo multifunction childcare centre in Woorabinda is one of many across Australia that will benefit from this. The Local Sporting Champions program is yet another great investment made in this budget. Having been a sportsman all my life I welcome this investment. The Australian government has doubled the number of Local Sporting Champions grants available in 2010-11. In regional areas such as Flynn, where children are almost always required to travel hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres to compete at state and national sporting events, this is immensely important. It will mean that more kids can receive much needed financial assistance to help cover the significant costs of chasing their dreams and competing at high levels in their chosen sports.

Another very important measure for the people of Flynn included in this budget is the $375 million allocated for a digital free-to-air satellite TV service that will enable viewers who are unable to receive TV in regional areas to see all of the digital channels enjoyed in the capital cities. It is a basic right that all Australians should share, including those in regional and rural Australia. I would also like to mention the Nation Building Program, in particular the Calliope Crossroads project, in Flynn. It is apparent to anyone in the region who has been faced with the difficult task of navigating across this intersection that a solution needs to be found quickly before the community is rocked by another serious accident at this location.

The $15 million allocated for this work in 2010-11 is an important step towards solving the dangerous problem that the Calliope Crossroads has caused for many residents. I am truly pleased to see funding allocated for this project, which is just one of the many projects under the Nation Building Program that will see great improvements to the roads throughout Flynn, including the Curra to Sarina project and the upgrading of the southern approaches to Gin Gin and Kirkwood roads. This funding, along with funding received under the Roads to Recovery program and the Black Spot Program, will bring to nearly $100 million the total funding being spent on local roads across Flynn. This is something that the people have cried out for, but no longer are they ignored.

The budget has also given rise to discussion of the resource super profits tax. I fully support the resource super profits tax, subject to ongoing negotiation and consultation. The taxpayers and ratepayers of Flynn should no longer be forced to pay for roads and infrastructure for the mining companies, only to see their superprofits go offshore to where the majority of their investors are. The resource super profits tax represents the long-needed change that the people of Flynn and the people of Australia deserve. It will finally give people back their fair share. As I have said publicly, I am happy to die in a ditch over this; I fully support it. It is sound economic policy and it is good news for the people of Australia and the people of Flynn.

In closing, I would like to reiterate the significance of this budget and our country’s achievements. We stand today with a healthy economy that has been strengthened by responsible management and decisive action through the previous budget. With continued responsible management the government will be back in the black in three years. This budget implements key investments in areas of great importance to the people of Australia. It is a fine vessel from which our country can launch into another era of great economic growth and prosperity. I commend with pride these bills to the House.