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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3105

Mining


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:19): My question is to the Treasurer. Why is it important to have widespread support for policies that spread the benefits of the mining boom to all corners of the economy?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:20): I thank the member for Blair for his very important question. Tonight in the Senate there will be a very important debate that goes to the very core of maximising prosperity in Australia and spreading the benefits of the mining boom to every corner of our country. Through this debate in the Senate we will see who is prepared to stand up and fight for a boost to superannuation savings for 8.4 million working Australians. We will see who is prepared to stand up and fight for small businesses—2.7 million small businesses that will benefit from the $6,500 instant asset write-off. We will see who is prepared to stand up and support vital investment, particularly in our mining regions and particularly in infrastructure.

We on this side of the House are absolutely determined to ensure that all Australians benefit from the resources boom. We are determined to ensure that the opportunities from that boom are spread right around our country. We believe that the benefits should not go to a fortunate few. We believe that the benefits should not just go to those who are in the fast lane of our economy. We do need to spread the benefits around the economy. We on this side of the House understand that there is a patchwork economy and not everybody is in the fast lane of the mining boom. That is why cuts to business taxation are so important. They will drive investment, they will make business more competitive and they will support jobs.

We on this side of the House are absolutely determined to maximise employment in this country, to support jobs in this country, which is why we acted so decisively at the height of the global financial crisis. We also understand that there are sectors of the economy impacted by the higher dollar, impacted by the cautious consumer.

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Herbert will remain silent for the rest of question time.

Mr SWAN: That is why we believe in providing tax cuts to many companies that need those tax cuts to be more competitive in this environment. Unlike those opposite, we will not stick our head in the sand and we will not leave those people behind. That is why we are so determined to put through these cuts to taxation. But we know what those opposite will do. Those opposite will kneel at the feet of vested interest like Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart. That is exactly what they will do.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Treasurer will return to the substance of the question.

Mr SWAN: They will write an 11-figure cheque to the likes of Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will resume his seat. The call is withdrawn from the Treasurer.







Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:22): My supplementary question is to the Treasurer. He talked about the benefits that will flow from tax cuts arising out of the minerals resource rent tax. Could he provide more details on what small business and working people in communities like Blair can expect from these tax cuts?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:23): There will be many benefits: 10,700 small businesses in the electorate of Blair will benefit from these initiatives. There will be a boost to the superannuation accounts of 43,000 workers in the electorate of Blair. Of course, there will be investment in critical economic infrastructure: $54 million for the Blacksoil interchange will go to the Blair electorate, a critical part of the economic infrastructure. The member for Blair understands, and everybody on this side of the House understands, how important it is that we do get a fair return for our mineral resources, which can only be mined once and which are owned by all of the Australian people. We will use the revenue from the MRRT when it passes the Senate to put in place these vital reforms for all Australians. Unlike those opposite, we believe the benefits should flow to the whole of the country not just to a select few.