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Crean must come clean: How else will business pay?

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The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

24 May 2004


Simon Crean should use today’s Press Club address to come clean on what other ALP budget nasties lie in wait for business and industry as the Opposition furiously digs about for an extra $4 billion in savings.

Last week the Labor Leader delivered his version of a big picture speech, it’s now up to his Shadow Treasurer to deliver the detail, and explain how much extra Australian business will be slugged to fund Labor’s social program.

The list of ways business will pay under a Labor Government is growing by the week. We already know that the Opposition will:

• Introduce a new federal payroll tax - a tax on jobs. (Labor’s Baby Care Payment announcement, 31 March 2004);

• Reduce the diesel fuel rebate by 10 per cent and impose an additional cost of nearly $500m on regional mining communities. (Opposition Leader press release 23 July 2003);

• Ratify the Kyoto Protocol and introduce an emissions trading regime, lumping Australian industry with billions of dollars in additional costs;

• Axe Invest Australia, the agency which attracts international investment to Australia, leaving the nation without representation in 12 of the world’s major economies, including New York, Paris and Beijing. (Baby Care Payment).

What other industry-supportive bodies will be dismantled as Labor rummages for budget fillers? Simon Crean must come clean today.

Can he guarantee the future of Geoscience Australia, the country’s centre for geoscience research and geospatial information?

Information provided by Geoscience Australia has directly underpinned 90% of all oil exploration in Australian since World War 2. Yet Labor’s energy spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon, this week indicated he thinks the organisation is redundant.

He told an energy business luncheon “that most of Australia’s oil has already been found” and therefore there’s no need for exploration incentives. Where does that leave the body that gathers, holds and supplies, free-of-charge, 40 years worth of exploration and geo-seismic data? Simon must know.