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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4310

Budget


Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (14:18): My question is to the Treasurer: now that the budget reflects the Greens' position not to give tax cuts to big business there is an extra $16 billion available to the public purse over the next decade. Why isn't that money being used for long-term reform that would secure our economy after the mining bubble bursts, for example, by boosting school funding as recommended by the Gonski review?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:18): I thank the member for Melbourne for his question, because in this House the company tax cut has been opposed not just by the Greens but by the Liberal Party. That is why the government has not been able to get its proposal through—they have made it very clear well in advance that they would not support a cut in the company tax rate. Indeed, they have been in the opposite position: they have a policy to increase company taxation, not to cut it—quite extraordinary.

The member asked me about what we are using the revenue for and why we have chosen to invest in the families of Australia, particularly those on low and middle incomes. We on this side of the House absolutely understand how important it is to give a bit of extra support to low- and middle-income families in our community and we make no apology for the fact that we are spending some of that money to boost the purchasing power of low- and middle-income families in this community who deserve to have a bigger stake in the mining boom, spreading the opportunities of that right around our community.

We understand that for many small businesses, particularly in the patchwork economy, there needs to be business tax reform, which is why we are moving forward with the instant asset write-off—a very big boon for small business in our community—and proceeding with the loss carry-back as well. These are two important reforms to make small business more competitive, to give them a helping hand whilst, at the same time, making sure that we give a fair go to low- and middle-income working families. On top of all of that, we are putting in place fundamental reforms, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and putting in place additional support to help people with dental care. All of these things, plus a huge aged-care package, demonstrate that if you can make big savings in your budget you can bring it back to surplus and make room for important new priorities.