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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 2023


Mr RIPOLL (Oxley) (20:43): It is a pleasure to speak on the Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2013. This bill amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and involves a whole range of really good changes that we are very happy to support in this chamber. In fact, if people care to go through the detail, they will see that the amendment bill better targets the research and development tax incentive to businesses that are more likely to increase their R&D spending in response to government incentives. It does a range of others things in delivering a greater return for taxpayer funds. What particularly interests me about this amendment bill is that this comes back to us from the last parliament, where it lapsed when parliament was prorogued. There is a broad international view that the R&D spending of small firms is more responsive than that of large firms to government incentives. This is why Labor in government moved this: to make sure that we efficiently used taxpayer funds and better targeted the R&D incentives that are in place.

I will not go through all the detail, because I do not think it is necessary to lengthen the time the House has to deal with this, but I will make a few points. It is interesting now to note that the government is putting this forward and we are all supporting it—we all think it is a good idea—but you may not be surprised that, prior to the election, the mob on the other side who are now putting this through the parliament had a different view. I cannot help but put on the record that the then coalition spokesperson, Sophie Mirabella, said the following things about the very bill that is being put forward by her people, this government:

Julia Gillard said this was about jobs and innovation but this policy announcement is destroying confidence in the tax incentive that makes industry responsible for its own initiative.

So one view in opposition; a different view in government. I am not sure, Mr Deputy Speaker, if you can see a pattern building here, but it goes further—

Ms Chesters: You've never seen that before—it never happens!

Mr RIPOLL: No, it never happens—the member across the chamber says. It goes further. In another quote the then coalition spokesperson, Sophie Mirabella, said:

We now know that large multinational companies won't be hit by the R&D tax cut, just like the carbon tax, and it is Aussie companies that will be struck by the cut—perversely, the opposite of Labor's claim to be creating Aussie jobs.

If you can make sense of that, you are doing better than me—because not only did that statement make no sense when they were in opposition, it does not make sense when they are in government. But what is good to see is that we are going to have the parliamentary secretary moving this really good bit of amendment legislation, which will be supported by the opposition. Labor will be supporting this because we wrote it, because we think it is actually really good.

There are a whole range of good elements to the amendments that will be good for the economy, will be good for confidence and will be good for what it does for the efficient use of taxpayer funds. I am happy that we will be supporting the amendments and we will be supporting what is before the House.