Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3489


Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (12:53): We have many responsibilities in this place but none is more fundamental than making sure that the economy is strong. That applies to every electorate around Australia and certainly none more so than my electorate of Banks. We have many people in our community who do so much work in seeking to build our economy and to create job opportunities, but those people need the fundamentals to be right in order for their efforts to be as successful as they can be. Our fundamental responsibility here is to get the economy strong so that all of the people in our local communities, such as in my community of Banks, who want to get out there and who want to create jobs can do so.

Recently I conducted a small business marathon, where I went across the suburbs of Penshurst, Narwee and Peakhurst in my electorate and met with scores of individual business owners one-on-one. The frustration that they expressed with where the economy was over the previous year was palpable. Many of them express a perceived lack of consumer confidence that is holding back their businesses and making it more difficult for them to employ people that they want to employ. As a government, and indeed more broadly as a parliament, we have to focus on policies that will help to create jobs.

It is very clear where the contrasts lie here between the approach of the previous government, on the one hand, and the approach of the current government. We do not think you can tax your way to prosperity, so you have to get rid of bad taxes that harm economic development, and no tax is worse than the carbon tax. We should not forget, of course, the impact of the mining tax on the critical industry of mining and on Western Australia. We have to get rid of these taxes. I think Australians in their heart of hearts know that, and I suspect that many members opposite in their heart of hearts know that too—yet they refuse to act. Let us hope that we see some change so that we can get that much needed relief through. We have to get red tape off small business. There is nothing worse than filling out forms for the government when you are in small business. I have done it, and as a small business owner you have so many things to worry about every day and there are so many more productive things you can be doing than filling out forms and going through bureaucratic processes. I am very pleased to see the strong stance that has been taken on that.

We also have to get the burden of regulation off big infrastructure projects and get those projects happening. There have been $400 billion worth of environmental approvals since the coalition was elected, and some of those projects are very large and will create many thousands of jobs. There are terrific initiatives for job creation, and at a more local level for me, in Banks, the WestConnex project, which has been championed by the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, is a tremendous initiative. It will save the average person travelling from Beverly Hills in my electorate to the city about 25 minutes. Think about that in the sense of productivity—it means that you get to your meetings faster, it means you get more done in the day, and the more we can increase productivity the stronger our local businesses are, and the stronger our local businesses are the more people they employ. We do not create jobs by inventing make-work schemes. Businesses create jobs; government's job is to create the broad parameters in which businesses can prosper. It is not to seek to micromanage every business or every activity of society; it is to create those broad parameters so that businesses can do their best.

Another thing, that goes to confidence, is government's management and frankly the basic perception of government competence. It is very hard for a small business person to feel confident about investing when they are not confident about the people with their hands on the big macro-economic levers. There has been a lack of confidence in that area. We need to take hard decisions, and those hard decisions involve addressing the extraordinary mountain of debt, approaching two-thirds of a trillion dollars in the next decade. Those decisions will not be easy but they need to be made to get the budget back on track, the government back on track, and that flows through to confidence in the community and that flows through to job creation.

Question agreed to.

F ederation Chamber adjourned at 12:58 .