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Thursday, 24 May 2012
Page: 5594


Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (10:33): I rise today to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No.1) 2012-2013 and related bills. Before I examine some of the critical infrastructure needs that have been left off the list for Hasluck yet again, I would like to take the time to speak about the suite of bills in their totality and what they mean for the Australian people. This budget will deliver all the wrong things for the residents of Hasluck and the nation as a whole.

Inside Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2012-2013 is what amount to bribes to soften the impact of the world's largest carbon tax. There are massive blow-outs in the cost of border protection as the government run around trying to find rooms for asylum seekers as detention centres overflow. The NDIS is underfunded, while equity funding for the NBN is being kept off the bottom line of the budget. Behind the smoke and mirrors is a government that has hidden the rise in the Commonwealth debt limit from $250 billion to $300 billion in Appropriation Bill (No. 2) to avoid proper scrutiny and debate on the matter.

This government continues to borrow more than $100 million per day and in four years has delivered a cumulative record deficit of $174 billion. The interest on this debt runs into the billions of dollars every year. That is money that could be better spent on many projects in many electorates, but in particular Hasluck, which is being neglected by this Labor government. All of the above comes without taking into account the world's biggest carbon tax, which is being rolled out in a matter of weeks. The carbon tax will hurt the people of Hasluck; make no mistake about that. Despite the fact that Julia Gillard said, five days before the last election, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead,' Budget 2012 is Australia's first carbon tax budget. The world's biggest carbon tax is about to hit families, jobs and investment at the world's worst time. The budget papers confirm that despite falling international prices Labor's toxic tax will go up to $29 a tonne in just three years, and an additional $36 million will be spent on taxpayer funded carbon tax advertising over the next two years. The advertisements mention the cash bribes but do not even mention what they are for—the world's biggest carbon tax. The carbon tax will cascade through the economy. Despite the Labor government's lie that only big emitters will pay the price, the cost of virtually everything will go up and up and up.

I would like to draw the chamber's attention to the Red Hill Waste Management Facility to the north-east of my electorate. This is managed by the East Metropolitan Regional Council, a conglomerate of local governments in Hasluck and its surrounds. The Department of Environment and Conservation provides the EMRC with an annual licence to operate the site once it has been adequately demonstrated that a range of conditions regarding pollution, buffer distances, noise control and waste types and quantities can be met. The use of modern techniques and principles of sanitary landfill design and operation, including leachate collection and methane gas capture, have contributed to the site successfully operating within DEC conditions for the last 22 years.

I had the privilege of visiting the Red Hill site with the member for Swan, Steve Irons, earlier this year, and we were blown away by the work and effort that has been put into managing landfill responsibly—educating schools on responsible waste disposal and capturing in excess of 75 per cent of all gases emitted from the landfill. These are just a few of the amazing things that the Red Hill Waste Management facility is doing to protect our environment. You would think that such an initiative would be rewarded by a government—but, no, this facility is one of the entities set to be included in the carbon tax. The reason? Its size.

You would think that the pooling of the resources of six local government authorities to save money and create a better environmental outcome than a typical landfill would be rewarded, but not in this instance. This government and its lazy approach to environmental policy is penalising them. I know they are worried about this tax. They will be forced to put up their prices and inflict an additional cost on constituents within my electorate and surrounding ones. They are worried that this will drive some people away from the landfill to dump their waste illegally as it becomes too expensive to do the right thing. This is another example of Labor's failed policies, which are too numerous to mention, even in a 15-minute speech.

I turn my attention to small business in Hasluck, which is the engine room of the local economy. They get no compensation for the carbon tax in this suite of appropriation bills. The Gillard government must cut red tape and axe the carbon tax to help improve small business conditions which are well below the five-year average. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's May 2012 Small Business Survey states that small business conditions were at low levels, with conditions expected to deteriorate further in the coming quarter.

The Prime Minister has also dumped her promised company tax cuts. Less than two months ago she said, 'If you are against cutting company tax, you are against economic growth. If you are against economic growth, then you are against jobs.' I regularly speak to local business owners in Hasluck when I am visiting shopping centres or precincts or when I am out doorknocking. They all tell me the same thing: this is the worst possible time to introduce the world's biggest carbon tax.

Small businesses are the biggest employers in my electorate and, in uncertain economic times, everyone is concerned that this carbon tax, which will have no environmental benefit to Australia, is the coup de grace to economic growth and many small businesses in Hasluck. If you think I am exaggerating about this, I challenge Labor members to go and visit small business owners in their own electorates. Ask them how things are really going and you will find out there is no popular support for this ridiculous tax. Tourism is a vital sector in the north of Hasluck, particularly the Swan Valley, Kalamunda and Guildford. People travel from afar to visit these areas and incorporate these activities when they are choosing to visit Perth from Asia and even Europe. Once again, this budget does nothing to help this struggling sector. Let me highlight some figures to show just how important tourism is nationally. It is worth 5.2 percent of our gross domestic product; or, in money terms, $73.3 billion. It employs nearly 910,000 people.

However, the tourism sector is feeling the pinch. Domestic tourism numbers are falling as the cost-of-living pressures hit Hasluck and Australian families. International tourists are faced with the strong Australian dollar, that rising debt levels do nothing to address. Although the sector is hurting, this suite of appropriation bills fails to provide adequate carbon tax compensation for tourism. It stands to destroy 6,400 jobs and cut 10 per cent from industry profits. It will also reduce Tourism Australia's budget by 6.2 per cent or $8 million in real terms.

During its peak in the Howard years, Australian tourism made a profit of $3.584 billion. Next year the sector will stand to make a net loss of $8.7 billion under the Gillard government. Shame on this inept government! I am a strong believer in a smaller government that allows citizens to flourish without being saddled with mountains of red tape and regulations. Excessive government interference in the market place creates inequitable outcomes.

Honourable members interjecting

Mr WYATT: It is good that the members are having the conversation. Instead of spending even more money on creating further bureaucracy, I call on this government to spend money on helping fertile ground where small businesses can flourish. Spend money on actually helping the people of my electorate to be masters of their own destinies instead of spending millions on advertising propaganda with no positive outcome.

In the south of Hasluck there is a desperate need for further services for my constituents. Let me highlight a few areas of desperate need that would create an ideal set of conditions for attracting more businesses and residents who would boost our local and even national economies. This is where a relatively small investment from the federal government would have major benefits to its citizens.

The growth areas in the east of Western Australia are in the Southern River, Gosnells, Huntingdale and Thornlie areas. Many people from these areas are forced to travel up to an hour to their place of employment as house prices rise and they cannot afford to buy closer to the CBD or work centres. Their commute is often slowed down terribly by the inadequate Nicholson Road and Garden Street roundabout. Delays of 30 minutes or more at this one intersection are not uncommon. This is made worse by the fact that a national train line runs just 200 metres from one of the entries to the roundabout. This and the fact that it is close to a major arterial road, the Roe Highway, causes misery for many. An overpass there would allow the free movement of traffic over this rail line and help emergency vehicles clear the area. It would also help small businesses based along Nicholson Road to attract more customers who are not put off by these delays.

To relieve congestion over a period of time, creating an environment where more people can work from home if they choose to is important. Giving businesses better access to faster download speeds is also critical if an area expects to hold its local industry and not lose them to the CBD. The broadband services in this part of Hasluck are very slow, and in some cases non-existent. I regularly receive letters, calls and emails from constituents in these areas who are frustrated about this situation. A common thread that runs throughout these complaints is what happens when they call Telstra.

When they call they are told there is nothing that Telstra can do due to the snail's pace of the NBN rollout. They are also told that they will have to wait anywhere from five to seven years for faster broadband speeds. How is my electorate supposed to grow in a sustainable way when people hear that moving into the south of Hasluck means living with dial-up speeds and shocking traffic congestion? Ten to 15 years ago broadband speeds may have been considered a luxury but everything is pushed online now, and my constituents in the south of Hasluck are being left behind by this woefully inadequate government. At this point I would like to acknowledge the work of the WA state government member Peter Abetz MLA, who has been tireless in his efforts to improve the Garden Street-Nicholson Road intersection and to improve broadband speeds in this area. Between us we have lobbied hard at state and federal levels for two years to see this change realised. I would also like to mention the outstanding work of three local governments in Hasluck—the City of Gosnells, the Shire of Kalamunda and the City of Swan—who all travel regularly to Canberra to lobby for improvements to our area. They go out of their way to facilitate shadow ministers I bring to Hasluck so they can bring these matters to their attention.

What we never see is the actual Labor government ministers venturing into Hasluck to speak to these LGAs. Unfortunately, despite their best effort, it seems the Gillard government is content to ignore their practical approaches to improving parts of Hasluck and seems to be content on rolling out bloated, ill-conceived policies that do more to create blockages in society than to improve things.

Finally, the surge of new residents to this area—particularly Gosnells—has created an unbearable strain on GP services. There are over 90 languages spoken in this area of Hasluck. The government is dumping people into this area with little or no support. This is not news to this government. In a bid to prop up support in the Midland area, the Gillard government chose to build a GP superclinic right across the road from the existing GP superclinic instead of putting one in Gosnells, which has limited access to the range of GP services. This neglect is outrageous and shows how badly it performs with policy. Waiting times and the lack of bulk billing in Gosnells is a major issue for my constituents and has once again not been addressed or funded in this budget.

People want to know when choosing an area to live in whether or not they can have access to the CBD and transport links and whether or not they can shop if they need to. They need to have access to modern technology like broadband and to be able to visit a GP when necessary without month-long waiting times. The Gillard government has repeatedly failed tens of thousands of people in this area of Hasluck not by accident but by ignoring the lobbying of local government, the complaints of local people and the pressures placed on them by political representatives. Instead of spending billions of dollars housing illegal immigrants in this country, Prime Minister, adopt the coalition policy on border protection; use the billions you will save to improve the lives of Australian people; and take greater care of our pensioners, self-funded retirees and service men and women. It is what they deserve.

I know that we live in times in which the global economy will have an impact. Certainly the Department of the Treasury papers say the conditions in some parts of the economy are likely to remain challenging. I think that in challenging circumstances the ability of the people of Australia to access services that they pay for through their taxes and expect to be delivered so that their needs are met also has to be considered.