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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1372


Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (16:10): It is great to rise to speak on this MPI today. What we have heard from those opposite is talk of threatening families. In this Australian parliament the only people who are threatening families are those opposite. The MPI, led in this chamber today by the Leader of the Opposition, first mentions families and working Australians, yet the opposition are denying families essential reform in the childcare industry. Our reforms, government reforms, will make child care more affordable, more flexible and more accessible for families in Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region and right around Australia. Our package will deliver the highest rate of assistance to those who need it the most. I have people in my electorate who are paying $1,300 a month in childcare costs. Our reforms will help them to significantly reduce their childcare costs, help them stay in work and get back to work. This is at a time when we know that for every person over 65, we have four to five people in the workforce and in the next decade that will go down to two to three people. Yet we have reforms here that will help working parents keep their kids in child care, get back to work and help Australia get back on its feet. Those opposite are blocking these childcare reforms.

They are increasing the cost of living with electricity prices. In Queensland, we know that electricity prices have gone up quite a bit. There are restaurants in my electorate in the Moreton Bay region paying $5,000 a month—and we want them to employ more people, yet their electricity costs keep going up. We know that state Labor governments in Queensland, for years under Beattie and Bligh and now under Palaszczuk, have massively underinvested. Not since the days when Joh was Premier was there investment in the electricity until 2004. Members will know that in 2004 we had massive blackouts and that is when they started to reinvest. So we have reinvestment. We saw Bligh pushing up massive rebates for those who got on board with solar. They were tapped in at the right time. Now we are seeing that everyone who did not have those rebates paying for it. We have now seen Palaszczuk put tens of billions of dollars of government debt onto our electricity providers and go, 'Hang on, that's government debt; that's the electricity providers, right.' Then they pocket the income that they take out of that and they prop up the budget. All of this gets passed on to residents in my electorate in the Moreton Bay region, and those opposite do not even blink.

Negative gearing—this thought-bubble of a policy that they have come up with. I have this report on negative gearing and its impact on the housing market. We know that the Hawke government got rid of negative gearing for two years, but they quickly reversed it. They knew they were wrong and they reversed their decision. Those opposite never know when they are wrong. They flip-flop all over the place. We have seen it with the Leader of the Opposition. One minute he supports company tax and the next minute he does not. This report says:

One of the arguments against negative gearing is that the tax deductions afforded to investors in the housing market reduces government revenue. However, if investors did not provide shelter to those that can't provide it to themselves, government revenue would already be reduced due to the fact that this responsibility would fall on the Government.

Now, that is not even talking about the people in the Moreton Bay region in the seats of Petrie, Longman and Dickson who will see their rents go up if negative gearing goes. Naturally, if you are an investor and you cannot negatively gear, you are going to positively gear and those who can least afford it do not do it. This government has a plan for jobs. Those opposite have no plan. Do you know what their plan is? We heard it from the member for Braddon today and those others in Tasmania: 'Let's whack up taxes. Put up more taxes.' And they wonder why they have an unemployment problem in Tasmania. They fought us on the FTAs, they fought us on the ABCC, and they are fighting us on company tax. Labor have lost their way and they cannot be trusted. They attack the very groups who historically offered them their unfettered faith and support. Whether drumming up diatribe on Centrelink debt overpayments, their outrageous 'Mediscare' rhetoric, or their reckless, devil-may-care attitude to the NDIS, the opposition consistently exhibit a callous disregard for those who rely on welfare. Putting politics over people is a dangerous game, but that is precisely what the opposition have done. Led by Bill Shorten, they have trotted off on a tangent, down a one-way street that finds a dead end. Shame on you.