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Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Page: 28



Mr GEE (Calare) (14:42): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how tax relief for hardworking Australians and record infrastructure spending is benefiting communities around Australia? And do alternate ideas pose risks for hardworking Australians trying to get ahead?

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaDeputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Leader of The Nationals) (14:42): I'll happily update the House on that. Hardworking Australians should be able to keep more of their money. The Liberal and National government's policy is as simple as that. The member for Calare is part of a government rewarding hard work and opportunity, rewarding hardworking Australians—a government helping them to get ahead: a government backing their aspirations.

Ms Plibersek interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: It's not mystifying, Member for Sydney. That's why we legislated once-in-a-generation tax relief for workers last week, due to take effect from 1 July. That's why we cut the small business tax rate to its lowest level last year in 77 years. That's what we redefined to help more job-creating local small businesses qualify for tax relief—small businesses like that of Angus Barrett, a saddler and leather goods retailer in the member for Calare's electorate in Orange, so he can grow and expand his small business. He can hire more locals. He can put on more people. He and his wife, Sarah, already have 16 hardworking staff. But Angus and Sarah aspire to keep growing and to keep hiring. They want a bigger local business. He told the member for Calare: 'It's impossible to grow, hire more staff, and spend more money on a business if we're hamstrung by taxes.' And he's so right.

The Liberals and Nationals are backing the central-west through infrastructure investment, through tax relief and making sure that product gets to market sooner and safer. This includes more than $2.3 million in infrastructure for bridge replacements, including the Browns Creek Road Bridge, which the member for Calare and I visited recently; a $2.5 million upgrade of Bathurst Airport; and $10 million for Velocity Park under the Building Better Regions Fund. Around Australia, our tax cuts and our infrastructure investment are creating confidence. They're helping hardworking Australians and small businesses to get ahead, like the 12,201 small businesses in the electorate of Longman, throughout places such as Caboolture, Burpengary and Bribie Island. We have legislated tax cuts for all those small businesses in Longman.

The member for Calare represents many small businesses. He represents the town of Bathurst. I had great cause the other day to reflect on Bathurst and the sorts of people who come out of Bathurst, such as the great Labor leader Ben Chifley. He was from that great central western New South Wales town. Labor had a leader who was a worker, a railwayman, who wanted to help workers get ahead. He was a leader whose vision became the light on the hill. Gone is the light on the hill. Now we have a light on the Bill—and who's putting a light on the opposition leader? That's right; it's the member for Grayndler. He's putting a light on the Bill. We know that he has put him in the spotlight. Under the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Maribyrnong, Labor's legacy is in tatters. (Time expired)