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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1468

Minerals Resource Rent Tax

Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (15:04): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to a letter that he wrote to his constituents in May last year in which he said:

I was talking to a local resident the other day who asked, 'Wayne, at a time when we are in the middle of a massive mining boom, why aren't people like me sharing more in its benefits?'

Has the Treasurer written to his constituents, including this one, telling them that his mining tax has collected virtually no revenue?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (15:04): I thank the member for that question. We on this side of the House understand that when you create prosperity you must spread opportunity. It is the case that there is lot mining investment in the pipeline. In that pipeline currently are $270 billion of projects that are committed to. We on this side of the House think that it is only fair that all Australians get a share of this boom—an investment boom that is going to become a production boom that is going to become an export boom.

Because mining is concentrated in a couple of areas of the country, there are some special things that we should do for mining regions, such as the area that the member for Herbert comes from—such as all the investments that we are making in roads up in Townville, including ring-roads and so on, and such as what we are doing at the port. We think that the mining boom should fund some of that. It is like the Gateway project in Perth, which will assist all the mining companies.

On the other hand, there are many other people who are not in the fast lane of this boom. They want a share of it, too. That is why we have been absolutely committed to supporting families and to assisting them with the cost of living through, for example, the schoolkids bonus. This is an enormous boon to Australian families who struggle to get through Christmas and kit out their kids when they go back to school—buying shoes and all the school books and so on. Those opposite want to take it away.

The reason that they want to take it away is because those opposite have a $70 billion crater. What they want to do is take a sledgehammer to the Australian economy through a whole host of cuts. The first thing that is going to go is the schoolkids bonus. That will be gone under them. The second thing that is going to go under that mob is the tripling of the tax-free threshold. That will be gone under the Liberals. The third thing that is going to go is the assistance to superannuation for the lowest paid workers in our community. The up to $500 that they get will be gone under the Liberals. We believe that all Australians have a right to share in our prosperity through policies that give them jobs, access to affordable health and education, and assistance with the cost of living.