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Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Page: 11989


Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (16:16): We've seen over the last 12 months some really positive results in the Australian economy. We've seen job creation soar, with over 370,000 new jobs in the last 12 months, and over 300,000 of those being full-time. We've seen the unemployment rate fall, not just nationally but also in my electorate. In the last four years since the coalition came in, we've seen the youth unemployment rate come down considerably in Petrie on the back of projects like PaTH. We've also seen rent fall in some areas, particularly in Brisbane a little bit, which has helped some people. Housing prices have remained stagnant or gone up a little bit. They have remained very stable. Goals are being achieved by local people and local community groups, so I thank the RDA and others in the community that are working hard.

The shadow Treasurer came in here and talked about inclusive growth, but the problem is that his policies and the policies of those opposite are actually making the gap larger. I look at their policies around higher taxes and their policy around making existing homes only available to be positively geared, because they want to get rid of negatively geared housing. When you only allow positive gearing, for the people who rent and who can only ever afford to rent, it means that their rents will go up. Naturally, if they cannot negatively gear, owners need to make sure that rents are higher than interest repayments. Some people out there may remember when interest rates were 17 per cent under Labor. Right now, they are quite low and there'll be very few investors that are negatively gearing compared to when interest rates were high. When interest rates are very high and when they go up in the future and you cannot negatively gear, it means rents will increase.

Labor also want to push up the cost of the electricity bill. We know the Climate Change Authority says their policy will increase prices by $200 and ours will decrease prices by over $100. That is a $300 difference between Liberal-National policy and Labor policy.

They want to punish family-owned business trusts that employ local people. They basically believe we have to tax them more because they must be ripping people off. But when you tax investment there are fewer jobs. We know, since we went to the last election with jobs and growth, that the coalition has a proven record of delivering.

They also want to tax people half of what they earn. If you've got any incentive to earn $300,000, they want to take half of it. We know that people who are earning $37,000 a year pay $3,572 tax. If you earn $52,000 you pay $8,400. If you earn $79,000—around the average in Australia; I think the average is $81,000—you pay $17,222. If you earn $300,000, if you are really earning more than the average, you pay $108,232 in tax. Lisa Wilkinson, who just left Channel Nine and now works for Channel Ten and has landed a contract for $2.3 million, will pay $1,008,232 in tax. So Labor's solution to growing inequality is that a woman who has just landed a $2.3 million contract, who currently pays over $1 million in tax, must pay more. That is why we are in this situation—according to Labor. What they should be focusing on is not the top earners or the middle-income earners but encouraging everyone to do better. They should not be voting against policies like the Super Saver Scheme. Members opposite voted against the $6,000 tax cut that we introduced into parliament last week to help first home owners save more of their own money for a deposit on their own house.

Labor's policies are all wrong. The inclusive growth that they're talking about is actually exacerbated under Labor—the rich and poor are getting wider apart. If you tax Lisa Wilkinson an extra two per cent, she's still going to be earning a lot of money. Focus on the bottom end. Look at those earning $0 to $18,200, who currently pay no tax—and each year maybe link that to CPI so that their $18,200 goes up. It will help everyone on the tax scale, including those at the lower end. You'll see a bigger gap between the minimum wage—what they take home—and what they currently get in welfare. This party believes in lower taxes and lower spending, and that's the only way to equality for all.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): The discussion is now concluded.