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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4497

Ms LANDRY (CapricorniaChief Nationals Whip) (17:21): I rise in absolute support for these appropriation bills and implore those on the other side of the House to join me in doing so. This is a bill that seeks to right many of the wrongs within in our system and deliver a new age of economic growth for us all to benefit from. Politics was not my first choice of career. It probably was not even my second. What politics was to me, and to many others who serve in this place, was a calling to help better provide for my community. I grew up in Rockhampton in a loving family that relied on their small business to survive. That's the beginning of a story for so many people across Central Queensland today, just as it was when I was a child. Small businesses keep the wheels turning. That's why there are a range of policies in this budget that I'm so happy with, particularly when it comes to taxation.

As I get around my diverse and large electorate, the single most popular policy is the $20,000 instant asset write-off for small businesses. This policy has been a godsend for businesses right across this region, not only for the businesses that decide to buy something that they would not have without the policy but for the businesses that they buy it from. This instant asset write-off has allowed farmers to buy motorbikes, cafes to buy espresso machines, accountants to buy new computers, chippies to buy new vehicles and so on and so forth, right across the local economy. As I said, this is a benefit not just for these businesses that take advantage of the write-off but also for the businesses that sell these businesses the equipment, allowing them to then go on and purchase their own. The sales team of the expresso machine, the computer store and the car salesman all get that extra sale, helping their bottom line as well. The only downside of this instant asset write-off is that its future is not certain. Each year it is extended, but we don't know for how long this will done. To make it permanent would be nice, but perhaps it would lead to businesses not being quite so keen to take advantage of it. Only time will tell.

This budget is not just about a single policy, though. It's about a plan. This is a plan that delivers on the promise we made to the electorate to turn the debt ship around and to deliver jobs to more Australians. It is a plan that has seen over one million jobs created since 2013. Just let that sink in for a moment: there are one million more jobs in the economy. Here in Australia, since the coalition took control of the Treasury benches, that includes over 400,000 jobs created in 2017—a monumental achievement and one only possible through real, sound economic management.

In my electorate of Capricornia, we are seeing the benefits of implementing a corporate tax plan that makes Australia more competitive on the global stage and of a real, no-nonsense approach to developing real job-creating infrastructure. In the Mackay SA4 area, which accounts for the vast majority of the Capricornia electorate, 6,500 jobs have been created in the last 12 months, driving the unemployment rate down from 5.7 per cent to an incredible 3.9 per cent. This does not happen overnight and it doesn't happen just because government decides to make it happen; it happens because over the past five years we have given businesses the confidence to hire, given them the confidence to strive to do more and given them the confidence they need to help turn our local economies around. Businesses like Coxon's Radiator Service in Rockhampton, who, over a short period, have diversified and grown their business, taken advantage of opportunities within the resources sector, and employed local workers to help them do so. It's a family business, and while what they do is very, very big, what they take out of the business is quite small. By Julie's admission, she and her husband Gary took home more when Coxon's was a smaller operation with fewer staff and less awe-inspiring jobs.

What businesses like Coxon's show is what our small and family businesses do when they get a chance. They grow their business and hire more staff, and, in many cases, they take home less money themselves. That's why our corporate tax plan is so important and has been so successful, because if government can take less out of our local economies, our local economies will be stronger and more resilient.

While the corporate tax plan has had and will continue to have a huge impact on the economy, it's important to address personal income tax as well. While a business will take tax relief and turn it into jobs, so too will people who are given the same. Shifting personal tax brackets to avoid the dreaded bracket creep is a good, sensible measure to help CQ families whose weekly budgets depend on it. Removing the 37 per cent bracket altogether is a bold and hugely beneficial move for the vast majority of Australians. This move will mean 94 per cent of Australians will never face bracket creep at all. This means more money in more people's pockets to be spent in more ways around the economy. Add to this an ongoing commitment to fully funding the NDIA and our hospitals and schools, and it is clear: this is a government committed to serving its purpose and improving the lives of each and every Australian.

One of the most important methods we are implementing to improve people's live, especially in Central Queensland, is to develop real job-creating infrastructure. Projects like Rookwood Weir and Urannah Dam are what this government is delivering. $352 million sits on the ledger waiting for the Labor state government to lift their finger and get the ball rolling on what is the No. 1 infrastructure project for Queensland. This green Labor government is committed to holding back the Central Queensland region, and the saddest part is why they wish to do so. This is a government that has delivered unconscionable tree-clearing laws that promise to effectively lock up 1.7 million hectares of productive country and put an end to agricultural development across the state. I'm sure this won't stop the concrete jungle of the south east continuing to grow, but it certainly will have a devastating affect on agriculture. This is the sort of green mentality we face in Queensland, the same mentality that drove the Premier to pull her support from the opening of the Galilee Basin, even vetoing a NAIF loan her own government applied for. This is a world away from the support Central Queenslanders find in the LNP. The LNP wants to build dams. The LNP wants to give farmers the tools they need to put food on their tables, and the LNP wants the Galilee Basin to be developed and to produce thousands of jobs for Central Queenslanders.

Labor knows it's pushing policies that will see thousands of Central Queenslanders worse off, but Labor doesn't care; all they care about is the prospect of clawing back the electorate they once took for granted, my seat and my home of Capricornia. Labor will do all they can to slow the progress already being felt in places like Clermont, Clarke Creek and Carmila. They will do whatever it takes to stop the state's most important water infrastructure project just so they can say that I have not delivered. Well, the people of Central Queensland are smarter than that. They have seen the way Labor have sold them out at virtually every opportunity, and they are sick and tired of it. They have seen the enormous investment and interest this federal government has shown in Central Queensland compared with previous Labor governments, who took the region for granted.

For the record, I will give a quick snippet of just a fraction of the funding I have attracted to CQ since 2013: $178 million for Rookwood Weir; $7 million for the Rockhampton Hospital car park; $5 million for Signature Beef to develop an on-farm abattoir near Moranbah; $1 billion invested into our military training facilities at Shoalwater Bay; $1.5 million invested into stage 2 of the Fraser Park development, giving Mount Archer the infrastructure it deserves so it can help sell Central Queensland to the world; $120 million in this budget for the Walkerston bypass so we can get heavy vehicles out of the tight town centre and make it safer for everyone; $5.8 million for Tropical Pines to develop a new fruit-processing facility at Yeppoon; $234,500 for the Middlemount Bowls Club to install new carpet; $100,000 for Spinal Life Australia to upgrade facilities in Rockhampton, delivering services to sufferers of spinal injury; $166 million to duplicate the Eton Range crossing on the Peak Downs Highway; $300,000 for Koorana Crocodile Farm to build new rearing facilities, taking one of the icons of Central Queensland, the crocodile, and turning it into a valued economic resource; $349,000 for upgrades at Sarina's St Anne's Catholic school; $60 million to duplicate the Capricorn Highway between Gracemere and Rockhampton, easing congestion and improving safety; $653,000 for Western Suburbs Leagues Club at Walkerston to finally realise their dream and develop a state-of-the-art undercover, all-weather bowling green; and billions of dollars poured into the Bruce Highway, with $10 billion more announced. The Mobile Black Spot Program, which didn't exist before the coalition took over, has delivered better coverage to stacks of CQ residents, especially in rural spots like Clarke Creek, Gargett, Mount Chalmers and Marlborough. This work continues to roll out and help support our growing coastal strip, as well as Yeppoon and Emu Park, which are set to benefit from new towers as well.

This budget is full of positive policies and an investment in the people of Central Queensland. From what I hear around the traps, people appreciate the mature, responsible approach we are taking, getting government out of their lives and giving them the opportunity to grow and get more out of life. I wholeheartedly support this bill and look forward to the ALP growing up and supporting it on the whole as well, for the sake of Central Queensland and Australia.