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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 6818

Defence Industry

Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (14:39): My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister outline to the House how the government is creating jobs and supporting workers in defence industry manufacturing and sustainment? What impact would other ideas have on the growth and job security of the workforce behind the Defence Force?

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (14:39): I thank the member for Bennelong for his question. The member for Bennelong knows, as do most members of the House, that the government is involved in the largest build-up of our military capability in our peacetime history—$200 billion of spending, building our capability, defending our nation and keeping it secure. Part of that, one of our major motivations—our second priority, after capability—is growing Australian industry: jobs, businesses and investment. In Australia, almost all of the 3,000 businesses in defence industry are small to medium enterprises. Virtually none of them would be described as primes. We are helping those businesses by giving them an entree into that huge spend, in a way that no government has done before. We are also helping them by reducing their company tax rates, making them more competitive, helping them to invest more money in their own businesses—businesses like, in the member for Bennelong's electorate in fact, Sonartech Atlas; or in Fisher, in Caboolture, HeliMods, which provides components for Navy helicopters; in Mayo, in Mount Barker, Ceramotec Technical Ceramics; in Dunkley, Wayout Evacuation Systems; in Tangney, AVI, who export ruggedised secure routers for the US Air Force; and, in Braddon, Delta Hydraulics, who provide precision hydraulics and components for defence in Devonport. We talked about Penguin Composites yesterday, and Delta Hydraulics in Braddon are doing similar work in the defence industry.

These kinds of businesses cannot afford to have Labor pulling the rug out from underneath them, increasing their company taxes, chopping and changing, and belting small businesses. We've seen that Labor want to belt the household incomes of hardworking Australian families. We know that they want to do that by increasing their income tax. Now we know that they want to increase the company tax for small and medium enterprises in the defence industry who are desperate to grow and employ more Australians. The Leader of the Opposition has a war on business. He's said that himself. He has a war on business, but it's really a war on Australians, on hardworking families, on small businesses, on higher wages, on investment and on growth. There was a time when the Labor Party stood for growth and jobs—in the Hawke-Keating government, in particular. The right wing of the ALP must be absolutely aghast. The member for McEwen, the member for Hunter, the member for Rankin and the member for Eden-Monaro must be absolutely aghast at where the Leader of the Opposition has taken the Labor Party. I know that it impresses the CFMMEU. I'm sure it impresses the CFMMEU to have a war on business. The Leader of the Opposition has put the CFMMEU ahead of his own colleagues. No wonder they're frustrated, like the member for Bass. Patsy rang in. She was frustrated. The member for Bass rang in because he was frustrated. It's time for change. (Time expired)