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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7136

Carbon Pricing

Mr BILLSON (Dunkley) (14:30): My question is to the Treasurer. I remind the Treasurer of the statement of his own parliamentary secretary on Monday when he said, 'Small businesses don't pay the carbon price.' Does the Treasurer agree with his parliamentary secretary? If so, will he be issuing refunds to the over two million Australian small businesses for the average 10 per cent increase in retail electricity prices they have paid this year as a result of Labor's carbon tax?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:31): I thank the member for his question because it gives me the opportunity to talk about a range of policies impacting on small business, and in particular our whole budget strategy, which supports jobs and growth and keeps the doors of small business open. If this country were faced with the sort of austerity policies put forward by the shadow minister for finance over there and our shadow Treasurer, the doors of small businesses would be closing right around the country. Of course, as everybody here knows, that was something they were particularly indifferent to at the end of February 2009, when they voted against a whole range of measures to support demand and to support small businesses in our community. We are particularly proud of what we have done in this area and most particularly we are proud of the initiative we have put in place through the instant asset write-off—a $6,500 instant asset write-off for millions of small businesses right around our country. I would urge everybody who is in small business—

Mr Billson: Speaker, on a point of order: we are not talking about the budget that predicts lower growth and higher unemployment. This was about the carbon tax—

The SPEAKER: The member for Dunkley will get to his point of order.

Mr Billson: and whether you will issue a refund, because apparently small business has not been paying it.

The SPEAKER: The member for Dunkley will resume his seat. I will not continue to tolerate abuses of points of order. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: I know the member is indifferent to the instant asset write-off, worth over a billion dollars to small businesses—a major boost to their cash flow. Certainly it is understood by small business organisations if it is not understood by the shadow minister over there.

I was also asked about the impact of the carbon price. The shadow minister knows full well that it is paid by the largest companies in the country. They want to go round as part of their fear campaign and argue that somehow it is imposed directly on a whole host of businesses. He knows that is not true; it is simply part of their continuous fearmongering to obscure the fact that if they were in charge of this country they would take the axe to spending and they would send unemployment through the roof. That would lead to business closures. That is the sort of austerity plan they have for Australia, which they are trying to hide behind a commission of audit. There has been an experiment in this country in recent times. It is from Premier Newman in Queensland and it has produced the worst economic results of any state in the country.