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Monday, 27 May 2013
Page: 3894


Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (17:50): I rise to speak on Appropriation Bill No. 1. The people of the Hasluck community do not claim to be wealthy nor do they cry poor. People in the community are quiet achievers, getting on with the business of life without too much complaint and fuss. The community is not particularly vocal about government policy and usually just adjusts to the changes that affect their lives without too much drama. But as I have been out door-knocking in my community and meeting people at local events, I am hearing more and more stories about individuals and families who are struggling under this government. I am hearing stories about families who are struggling to pay the ever increasing costs of private health insurance, struggling to pay for their weekly grocery bill which seems to be forever rising and struggling to pay for the electricity bills which have gone up directly due to the carbon tax. Essentially they are struggling because the decisions of this government are making it difficult for them to get on with their lives. They are facing additional pressure because this government is putting in place more plans which are costing their families.

This budget has provided more of the same that this government has been serving up since its election in 2007. This budget has yet again shown this government's true colours—taking a direct hit to the people of my electorate and around Australia, making it more difficult for families to make ends meet. Not only does this budget do nothing to help families deal with the rising cost-of-living pressures, it adds further uncertainty to their future outlook, making it even more difficult to plan ahead. What we knew before and was evidenced again in this year's budget was that this Labor government's financial and budget management is in complete chaos. This year's budget offering delivers more debt, more deficits, more taxes, more broken promises and more uncertainty. If we did not think that this could get much worse after the previous six years of chaos, debt and spin, it could. What this government seems to have failed to realise is that Australians are desperately seeking stable and competent economic management. They are seeking an end to the perpetual chaos they are experiencing at the hands of this government and they are instead looking for a government they trust to manage the economy. Above all, they are seeking for hope, reward and opportunity.

For the last five years this Labor government has been unable to deliver a budget surplus. It has been unable to deliver any kind of credible economic plan. This government wants us to believe that they will deliver a plan for the next decade. Deputy Speaker, forgive me if I seem somewhat cynical about this prospect. With the announcement of the fifth record budget deficit in five years and an increasing record level of net debt—now at $192 billion—it is laughable to suggest that this government is able to provide sound economic judgement about the decade ahead. The positive news for the people of the community of Hasluck and all around Australia is that the coalition does have a strong, positive plan for the future and one that we will deliver economic stability and one that will provide hope, reward and opportunity.

The coalition has a plan that will offer immediate relief to the many families in my electorate who have gradually been experiencing the squeeze of the rising cost of living that is a direct result of the actions of this government. To my colleague on the other side, to begin with our mindset is completely different to this Labor government. We do not believe that governments have money of their own. We believe that government money is the people's money. Today's spending is tomorrow's borrowing and next year's repayment. Governments have a responsibility to spend money wisely. Just as families and businesses need to live within their means, governments also have to live within their means. This is a vital lesson that it would seem this government has missed. The coalition does not take money for granted and we do not believe any government should. I am concerned that with this budget and those before it it is clear that this government has taken the budget and the economy for granted. Year after year it would seem that this government is adding to the mortgage simply to pay the grocery bill. This reckless and wasteful approach to the budget needs to stop and responsible government needs—

Ho nourable member interjecting—

Mr WYATT: Don't worry; we will teach you. This government was so determined to introduce a mining tax and a carbon tax, yet it was unable to get the figures right. So bad was this government's prediction about the budget that we saw this year's supposed revenue shortfall go from $6 billion to $12 billion, to $17 billion, and this all happened within the space of a mere few weeks—record Labor debt. The budget papers reveal that Australia's gross debt will breach Labor's $300 billion debt ceiling within the forward estimates. The budget papers foreshadow a further increase in the debt ceiling stating that:

The government will legislate to increase the limit as it becomes necessary.

At the last election, Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised that Australia's net debt would peak at less than 90 billion. This budget reveals that the net debt will now peak at over $191 billion, more than double what was promised by the Prime Minister. The Treasurer has delivered his fifth record deficit in five years, with at least two more years of deficits to follow. This will be Labor's 12th deficit from its last 12 budgets. The last Labor surplus was in 1989. Last year the Treasurer promised a surplus of 1.5 million, but instead he has delivered a deficit of more than 12 times as big at 19.4 billion. This Labor government is addicted to spending, contrary to what Labor is claiming.

Mr Champion interjecting

Mr WYATT: It has a spending problem; not a revenue problem, Member for Wakefield. Revenue in 2013-14 is projected to be $80 billion higher than at the end of the Howard government, yet the Treasurer plans to deliver his sixth deficit in a row because spending in 2013-14 will be at $120 billion higher than at the end of the Howard government. In his budget speech, the Treasurer blames the high Australian dollar for having savaged revenues, yet this was one assumption in last year's budget which was actually right. With Australia's terms of trade still extraordinarily high, 15 per cent higher than at any other time during the Howard government, the budget should be back in surplus, but over the last five years the government has spent $192 billion more than it has raised. Expenditure as a percentage of GDP has been higher every year under Labor compared to the last years of the Howard government.

Labor's planned return to surplus is not credible and presents a potential black hole for future budgets. The claim of surpluses in the two out years relies on virtually no further deterioration in the terms of trade in the next two years. This is a heroic assumption and puts at risk the projected small surpluses in the two out years. It assumes that the terms of trade will remain far higher than in any year of the previous coalition government. The great big disappointing mining tax has become problematic. The forecast revenues for the mining tax personally and secretly negotiated by the Prime Minister in June 2010 have collapsed from $22.5 billion to $3.3 billion over its first four years. Mining tax revenue in 2012-13 is a staggering 95 per cent below the Treasurer's original MRRT revenue forecast and the spreading benefits of the boom package, which was the centrepiece of the Treasurer's last three budgets, seem to have been deleted altogether from the budget papers. Despite the comprehensive failure of the mining tax to raise any meaningful revenue so far, the Treasurer's 2016-17 surplus promises rely on mining tax revenue increasing by more than 10 times from its level this year. This government is clearly out of its depth when it comes to the budget. Australia needs to get back on track and it cannot afford another term under a Labor government.

This year there is a clear choice for Australians to make. On one hand, under Labor there is more chaos, more confusion, more instability and greater spending. On the other hand, under a coalition government there will be stability, security and confidence in Australia. There will be hope, reward and opportunity. The coalition has a plan with practical, real solutions to get Australia back on track. We will take pressure off families and deal with Labor's budget emergency, building a stronger, more prosperous economy. The coalition has practical solutions to help families of my electorate and across Australia cope with the ever-increasing cost-of-living pressures they are facing. The coalition will continue with the current income tax thresholds as well as the current pension and fortnightly benefit rates. We will do this by getting rid of the carbon tax to provide an instant relief to household budgets. We will also require the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to make sure that prices do not remain artificially raised when we abolish the carbon tax, ensuring that households are the ones to benefit from the removal of the carbon tax.

Since this Labor government came to power in 2007, electricity prices have risen by 94 per cent and gas has gone up by 62 per cent. This is an incredible burden, contributing to the cost-of-living pressures on families, made much worse by the carbon tax. Unlike this Labor government, we in the coalition want to ensure that families and individuals are able to get ahead in life. I want to see my community, a community full of hardworking families and individuals, have every opportunity available to them. I want to see a stronger, more connected, more sustainable local community. That is why I am pleased to be able to support the many coalition initiatives, which stand in stark contrast to what this Labor government has shown us in this year's budget.

One example of this is internet connectivity. In my community, there are many families, students and businesses who are disadvantaged by their inability to access broadband internet. There are black spots in areas that the government has not serviced through the NBN. Despite the promises of the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to provide fast broadband for all Australians by this year at a cost of $4.7 billion, there are many residents who are missing out while the government's NBN languishes behind schedule and is dramatically over cost, with predictions it will cost up to $90 billion all told. The residents of the black spot areas in my community include those in the suburbs of Thornlie, Southern River, Huntingdale and Gooseberry Hill. They should not be missing out on the internet because it is simply not politically convenient for this government. Only the coalition will deliver an NBN to these black-spot areas as a matter of priority, because we understand the importance of families and local businesses being able to access broadband internet. We will deliver broadband to all households by 2016, doubling the speed by the end of 2019. This will make a practical, positive difference to the lives of members of my community.

Another way that the coalition will make a real and practical difference is through investing in key infrastructure for Australia's future. For too long, there has been no plan for future growth and no plan to encourage investment in Australian infrastructure. Even now, this government has failed to address the problem. The Property Council of Australia has identified:

Yet again, the government is making it harder to attract capital to Australia on the basis of Treasury's inadequate, cherry-picked analysis of global regimes.

In my community, which is experiencing significant growth due to the mining sector, infrastructure investment is not only desirable; it is necessary to ensure a future of sustainability.