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Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Page: 1924


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance) (13:42): I thank all those senators who have participated in the debate on the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013. Let me just conclude by observing once again that Labor's mining tax is a very bad tax. It is bad for the economy. It is bad for jobs. It is bad in particular for the great state of Western Australia. It was designed deliberately by Labor to hold Western Australia back, to make it harder for Western Australia to be successful, to make it harder for Western Australia to grow the economy more strongly and create more jobs. This, of course, in turn is bad news for our national economy and bad news for our capacity to create more jobs nationally. Furthermore, not only is this a tax which is a dog's breakfast in terms of its complexity, in terms of the distortions it creates in the economy and in terms of its inefficiency; it is a tax which is costly to administer for the Commonwealth and costly to comply with for the mining industry. It has tied an important industry for Australia up in massive, costly red tape while not raising any meaningful revenue.

Not raising any meaningful revenue has not stopped Labor—quite cruelly, I would say—from making a whole series of unfunded spending promises left, right and centre to a whole series of otherwise meritorious causes. But, when you do not have the money to pay for it, you do not have the money to pay for it. We in this government are committed to ensuring that we put Australia back on track, that we build a stronger economy where we can create more jobs, that we repair the budget mess that we have inherited from our predecessors and that then we rebuild from a stronger foundation. A stronger economy is good not only for the prosperity of the nation but also in terms of increased government revenue without the need for all these new, bad and complex additional taxes. Once you have a stronger economy and you have generated more revenue and put the budget back in the black, you are able to afford to do some of the things that are sensible.

I advise the chamber that under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme and the Veterans' Children Education Scheme, the children of veterans are entitled to non-means-tested assistance for their education. Depending on their circumstances—for example, whether they are living at home or away from home, whether they are homeless or double orphans—they will receive annual payments of up to $13,312 per annum. There are additional payments for single orphans of up to $1,036 per year. In addition they can receive special financial assistance of up to $4,000 in fares allowance, rent assistance, additional tuition assistance and guidance and counselling. Repealing the income support bonus payments across the board was a 2013 election commitment made by this government on the basis that it was an unfunded promise linked to Labor's failed mining tax.

This is a debate that has been going on for long enough. Today the people of Western Australia will have the opportunity to observe who in this Senate stands up for the best interests of the great state of Western Australia and who in this Senate continues to persist with trying to impose anti-Western Australian taxes that make it harder for the great state of Western Australia to be as successful as it can be and make it harder for our national economy to be as successful as it can be. I commend the bill to the Senate.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Fawcett ): The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Milne be agreed to.