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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2287

Mr COLEMAN (BanksAssistant Minister for Finance) (15:39): We stand in the House today in an environment where we have just seen a year of the greatest job creation in Australian history—the biggest year ever for the creation of Australian jobs. In this House all of us should be praising the efforts of industry, the efforts of government and the efforts of everyone who has contributed to this extraordinary result. What we have seen in the past 12 months is that every single day, on average, more than 1,000 new jobs were created, and three-quarters of them are full-time. This is a phenomenal outcome, and it's something of which this government is justifiably proud, because those opposite had a very poor record on job creation when they were in office.

We are creating jobs at a rampant speed. Part of the reason that's occurring is this government's very strong policies in relation to economic growth. Among them, most importantly, is business tax reductions. It's already happening, no thanks to those opposite. What happened last year, you'll recall, is that the government said, 'Let's reduce company tax rates for businesses with a turnover of between $2 million and $50 million.' You know what those opposite said? They said no. They said those businesses were too large. They described them as multinationals and as businesses that were undeserving of any tax support. It's very important that people understand the impact that these tax cuts are already having, because we already have a situation where there are literally millions of businesses in Australia with between $2 million and $25 million of turnover that have had—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): Will the member for Lindsay take that conversation outside. She is disorderly where she is at the moment.

Mr COLEMAN: We're already seeing the benefits of these tax cuts, because smaller businesses are already paying only 27½ per cent. But those opposite voted against that. They said that for a business with $2.1 million of revenue—which probably has, on average, a profit margin of maybe five per cent, which means it makes $100,000, which is about the same as the average household income across Australia—that should not be allowed. They voted against it, and it's very important that people understand that. They said small and medium-sized businesses shouldn't be provided with tax relief. Presumably, they are therefore going to increase taxes on those millions of businesses that are already benefiting from tax reductions.

We are seeing that the proof of the pudding is in the eating with the massive job creation that's occurring in this economy today, which is an objective fact. It's important that that tax relief is extended to more businesses, because larger businesses also employ millions of people. Those opposite might not understand that, they might not want to acknowledge that, they might not appreciate that, but it happens to be true. Larger businesses employ millions of people. The argument of those opposite appears to be that tax reductions make no difference to the level of investment. Think about that logically, because that's what they're saying. They're saying that if you reduce the level of corporate tax it does not flow through to increased investment and more jobs. That's what they're saying. The logical conclusion is that those opposite would say, 'The tax rate doesn't matter at all.' They're basically saying that, regardless of the level of tax, corporations will invest the same amount of money. That is plainly absurd.

We've seen the US cutting their corporate tax rate down recently to 21 per cent. The UK is at 17 per cent and even France is going down to 25 per cent. But those opposite say that every business with $2 million or more of turnover should pay 30 per cent tax. That is a bad strategy for the Australian economy. This government understands how to create economic growth. There was 19 per cent growth last year in exports of rural products because of those blockbuster free trade agreements that this government has got into. There was $75 billion worth of infrastructure investment, putting to shame the appalling record of those opposite with delay and delay and delay in those critical infrastructure projects—like Western Sydney Airport, which will create thousands of jobs and is so important for my home state of New South Wales.

We know that those opposite used to support company tax cuts, because the shadow Treasurer said reducing company taxes 'promotes investment, creates jobs and drives growth'. He's 100 per cent right. He should be true to his convictions and get the opposition to support these important reforms.