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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 516


Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (11:58): At the time that this debate was adjourned, I was referring to a case in Launceston, northern Tasmania, where a gaming venue, having been made aware of the first of the $900 cheques being distributed, decided it would be worthwhile in attracting potential punters into the venue to offer free breakfast to anyone who purchased $25 in poker machine credits. The result was that there was a $75,000 net benefit to the business as a result of additional business that occurred due to the $900 cheques being spent in that particular venue.

Coming from Tasmania, where we have an unemployment rate by far the worst in the country and well above the national average, I know just how effective this program has been. Nothing is more important in Tasmania than jobs. In September 2013 we went to the election with our economic growth plan and we are delivering on that plan. I know and I believe that Tasmanians are also soon ready to elect a Hodgman government after so many years of economic mismanagement under Labor and more recently under Labor and the Greens.

We opposed this package at the time because it was simply unaffordable. History shows that the legislation was passed. We are now trying to clean up the mess—with little help from those opposite. Even last financial year, four years after the legislation was passed, 15,000 cheques were issued, totalling $13 million of borrowed money. Since its introduction, more than 16,000 stimulus payments have been sent directly to taxpayers living overseas, at a cost of more than $14 million. The total amount of borrowed government money spent on stimulus payments to date is estimated to be around $7.7 billion. What extraordinary waste. We are stopping the waste and will clean up the mess. I commend the repeal bill to the House.