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Thursday, 12 December 2013
Page: 2679

Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (10:55): I received a very intriguing email on the demise of Holden from an Australian in Queensland. He says:

Holden generated $32.7 Billion in economic activity in Australia.

They received $1.8 Billion in Government Assistance

They paid $1.4 Billion back to the Government in PAYE income tax revenue.

And paid $21 Billion to businesses in Australia for supplies and services.

So, Mr Morgan explains, the $1.8 billion that they got minus the $1.4 billion in taxes that they paid means that the total cost to government was $400 million. He argues:

… (it's an investment—not a purchase).

This $400m investment puts $21b back into the Australia economy …

So the actual cost is:

… 1.9 cents to the government for every $1 earned by Australian Companies—who will also be paying PAYE income tax revenue to the government, which far exceeds the $400m … that the government will have actually outlaid.

…   …   …

The other side of the coin is the cost in unemployment benefits to be paid to the Holden workers retrenched by the closure of plants, along with the countless thousands who currently work for companies that are paid the $21b and all of their suppliers who are also affected.

Let's assume the total outfall of this fiscal decision of this government results in a total unemployment of 5,000 workers …

Actually the numbers will be far higher because of all of the people who work in components and accessories. He continues:

Let's … assume that these 5,000 workers will be on Newstart … of $542 per fortnight. That's a massive impost on the Australian Taxpayers of $2,710,000.00 per fortnight that these workers—

will get on Newstart, which is $70 million to the taxpayer per year. That does not factor in the recessionary factors that this will have for the Australian economy. He continues:

By not offering any fiscal support (that it seems that every other country in the world that still has a manufacturing industry) to Holden in this instance, the government is forgoing multi billion dollars in PAYE payments from Holden and its suppliers—to an expense on … $70m a year (and that assumes that only 5,000 people are placed on Newstart), add to this, the costs of providing all of the retraining that the government is now espousing …

As he says, for the want of a nail, we have lost the war.

I have been in this parliament since 1998. I have never seen a more disgraceful and gratuitous decision. Ford were not going to put any money into this country. Holden wanted to invest a billion dollars into Australia. This is a choice that this government made, an ideological choice. For the extra expenditure that the previous government was going to undertake with Holden, we could have kept Holden in Australia. The decision to drive this American company out of Australia is something that is unprecedented in Australia's economic history. (Time expired)