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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3432

Mr WILSON (O'Connor) (16:11): I rise to dispel any notion that the Abbott government is not implementing the right priorities for Australia. The Prime Minister, as leader of the coalition, took a very clear plan to the election last year and he is now getting on with the job. Our plan included building a stronger economy so that everyone can get ahead, abolishing the carbon tax, ending the waste, stopping the boats and building the roads of the 21st century. These key issues were and are important to all Australians.

If we look at what the coalition inherited from Labor's gross incompetence, we can see that the coalition has taken on an enormous responsibility in fixing Labor's mess. Labor's legacy to Australia is: 200,000 more unemployed, gross debt projected to rise to $667 billion, $123 billion in cumulative deficits, more than 50,000 illegal arrivals by boat and the world's biggest carbon tax.

If we break down each of the points in the coalition's plan to fix this mess, we can see that at every step Labor has blocked the legislation introduced by the coalition. This legislation included repealing the carbon tax, repealing the mining tax, temporary protection visas to stop the boats and building vital infrastructure that Australia needs, with particular reference to the Roads to Recovery program. I will deal with these on a point by point basis.

The government introduced and passed legislation in the House to abolish the carbon tax, which will save the average Western Australian family $550 on their power bills and up to 10 per cent on the cost of electricity for small business. The legislation is currently being blocked in the Senate by the Labor Party and their Green allies. In Western Australia, ALP Senate No. 1 candidate Joe Bullock declared that the Labor Party would be scrapping the carbon tax, yet on the same day, here in Canberra, the Labor Party voted to block it.

Repealing the mining tax: the government introduced and passed legislation to abolish the mining tax. My electorate of O'Connor has numerous mining and resources companies that are critically important to the economy of the region, the state and the nation. This mining tax has destroyed the confidence in the capital markets and seen greenfields exploration come to a virtual halt. This is a tax on investment and jobs. It is an anti-Western Australia tax. This legislation is currently being blocked in the Senate by the Labor Party and their Green allies, threatening Australia's economy.

When it comes to stopping the boats, the coalition promised in last year's election that we would stop the boats, and we have. Operation Sovereign Borders has seen a dramatic reduction in asylum seekers coming to Australia. It has been 98 days since a boat successfully arrived on our shores. In the last four months of the Rudd and Gillard governments, 174 boats with 12,603 asylum seekers arrived. Yet still the Labor Party block our efforts to re-introduce temporary protection visas in the Senate.

Building the vital infrastructure that Australia needs: this government is delivering the biggest infrastructure agenda in Australia's history with the $35.5 billion Infrastructure Investment Program that will build the vital road and rail projects to improve efficiency, boost productivity and drive Australia's economy forward. In this program there is a commitment to the Roads to Recovery Program, locking in its future for a further five years with $1.75 billion of funding. I have spoken this week about the importance of the Roads to Recovery Program because it provides vital funding to local governments for the maintenance of the nation's local road infrastructure. However, this too is in jeopardy because the opposition has vowed to block it in the Senate. In my electorate alone, if Labor continues to block this program, $18 million worth of investments in vital roads will be lost.

In WA the Abbott government has made a major investment in road projects, including $308 million for the Great Northern Highway, $686 million for Gateway WA, $615 million for the Swan Valley bypass, $140 million for the Tonkin Highway upgrade, $174 million for the North West Coastal Highway and $42 million for the Great Eastern Highway in my electorate between Coolgardie and Bullabulling. The coalition is so committed to these plans that, despite the revenue from the mining tax not appearing, these projects will go ahead. This is once again an example of the coalition fixing Labor's mess.

Finally, I want to say to the people of Western Australia that we have a great opportunity on 5 April to return three Liberal senators to help the coalition get its legislation through the Senate and allow this government to deliver the plan we took to the people and get on with building the economy of this nation and, more particularly, Western Australia.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! The discussion is now concluded.