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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3487


Ms LANDRY (Capricornia) (12:44): When I walk around and talk to small businesses and industries in my electorate of Capricornia they tell me they are hurting. Things are tough and global markets are down, and some local industries have faced many job cuts as a result—the other day, one manual labour business put off 60 staff. This is a direct result of the legacy left by the previous Labor government. They overspent and recklessly racked up the national credit card. They left small business choking in a stagnant economic environment.

Small-business owners ask me what we are doing to help. Unlike Labor, we have a plan, starting with cutting red tape. We take the bureaucratic frustration out of running a small business. This week we launched what is anticipated to be the first of many repeal days. Over 10,000 regulations and laws are going, saving over $700 million a year. This is one of the many steps forward to build a better economic environment in which small business can regroup and thrive. Previously I ran a bookkeeping business in Central Queensland. Through my clients, I am well aware of the burden of red tape. Small businesses are overwhelmingly run off their feet with unnecessary tax and regulation.

This week we are making life easier by cutting red tape, but it does not end with repeal day. Cutting red tape and reducing the compliance burden on our business community also includes repealing the carbon tax. Recently senators from Labor and the Greens voted to keep the carbon tax. Their failure to axe the tax is costing big employers in my electorate of Capricornia millions of dollars, and it is causing financial pain for small businesses in places like Rockhampton, Dysart, Yeppoon, Moranbah, Sarina and West Mackay. Labor and the Greens have the cure for this pain, but, shockingly, they refuse to help our local businesses. Instead, Labor and the Greens behave like doctors who have the cure for a terrible disease but who refuse to pass it on to their patients.

The government is cutting red tape and tax, while Labor and the Greens sit on their hands. Their carbon tax continues to reduce the potential for job growth in Capricornia. Let me give you some examples. I come from Australia's beef capital. Here the Teys meat-processing plant exports beef. It is one of Rockhampton's largest employers, hiring up to 1,000 people. It is forced to pay $1.8 million in direct and indirect costs due to the carbon tax. In another part of my electorate, in the small town of Sarina, a local butcher has complained of paying costs associated with the carbon tax and is happy to give it the chop. But—guess what?—Labor and the Greens will not do it. They do not care about local butcher shops in this country. This is—pardon the pun—an 'offal' situation! I will not mince my words. It is time the carbon tax was deboned, was 'lamb-basted' and got the chop. There is a lot at 'steak'. Responsible action is required to beef up our economy.

This tax even affects homeowners and business premises. It has been suggested that, if the tax were axed, council rates in places like West Mackay and Sarina should drop slightly because of the levy paid by ratepayers to offset the tax. That means that small businesses which own their own premises would be better off. But guess what? Labor and the Greens do not care about the bureaucratic burdens facing small business in Central Queensland, because Labor and the Greens want to keep the biggest red tape of them all, the carbon tax. Our government is cutting red tape, while Labor and the Greens are using the carbon tax and red tape to strangle job opportunities and business growth in Capricornia.