Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Questions without Notice
Resource Super Profits Tax
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Carr. I ask: what will be the impact on jobs, in particular across regional Australia, of Kevin Rudd’s proposed $9 billion great big new tax on mining?
It is quite clear from that question that not only is the opposition, frankly, not interested in discussing serious issues about the future economic development of this country; but they have already determined that position of opposition. This measure that the government is introducing in terms of our tax reform is about increasing job opportunities. It is about increasing the opportunities for new investment in the mining sectors. In the context of the changes we are making right across the system, it is about making sure Australian business is more competitive. It is about building on our strengths and it is about ensuring that we have the investment opportunities in the future. It is absolutely consistent with what is happening around the globe. It is absolutely consistent with the changes that are occurring. The modelling has shown that under this new arrangement mining investment will rise by 4.5 per cent, jobs by seven per cent and mining production by 5.5 per cent in the long run. What we have is an opposition that are going to take an obstructionist position no matter what is said.
Mr President, I rise on a point of order. I asked the minister a very specific question about what impact the great big new tax on mining will have on jobs. The minister has gone on for more than a minute now and he has not got anywhere near addressing the impact on jobs of Labor’s great big new tax on mining.
There is no point of order. I consider that the minister is answering the question. He might not be responding in the way that you desire but he is answering the question. I draw the minister’s attention to the fact that he has 46 seconds remaining.
What I have said is specifically related to the question asked. This is about growing jobs, about growing economic activity, about building international competitiveness and about ensuring that mining production actually grows. But it is also about a fair go—a fair go for the Australian community and for what are the Australian people’s resources. This is about ensuring that we share the benefits of the mining boom, ensuring that we can provide resourcing for superannuation, ensuring resources for infrastructure and ensuring resources so that the economic benefits of this industry are spread right through the Australian community. It is about a fair go—something this opposition is not interested in. (Time expired)
Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Has the government conducted any formal modelling or any other formal assessment of the impact of the so-called resources super profits tax on jobs, in particular across regional areas?
It is quite clear the senator did not listen to the previous answer. I said that modelling shows that under the government’s proposals mining investment will rise by 4.5 per cent, jobs by seven per cent and mining production by 5.5 per cent. These arrangements allow for the funding of a tax cut for all businesses. They allow for the funding of the superannuation scheme. They provide for the investment in new infrastructure. It is about ensuring that Australians get a fair go. It is about ensuring—
Mr President, on a point of order: the question was directed to one topic and one topic only: whether modelling had been conducted and the nature of that modelling. The minister has affirmed that there has been modelling—which is responsive—but then he has gone on to make an argument as to the effectiveness of the policy. He has not been describing the modelling or providing the information in relation to the conclusions of the modelling, which was the point of the question.
The amount the Australian community receives in taxes and charges from our non-renewable resources has actually halved as a share of the profits during the past decade, and we cannot allow that to continue. The Australian people are entitled to a fair go. We are entitled to ensure that the resources from this highly profitable industry— (Time expired)
Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the minister table the modelling that he has just talked about. Given that the modelling of the impact on jobs across regional Australia clearly appears to be inadequate and given the important contribution of the resources sector in keeping Australia out of recession and in creating new jobs, how can the government go ahead with such a reckless tax grab without properly assessing its impact on jobs, in particular across regional areas?
The new leadership of the Liberal Party in the Senate really has to do a much better job than this. If they cannot even read the published documents, which already demonstrate that the modelling has been tabled, why do they bother coming in here at all? They are wasting everyone’s time. What you are highlighting is that you are not interested in serious matters of public policy; you are interested in opposition for the sake of opposition. You are in the business of opposing every worthwhile measure this government presents to this parliament. You are in the business of frustrating the economic development of this country and you are in the business of undermining the economic welfare of Australians for generations to come.
Mr President, on a point of order: there has been absolutely no modelling of the impact on jobs across regional areas tabled by this government. Perhaps he can correct the record.
What this opposition does is oppose everything before it sees the detail. What we see, of course, with the current Leader of the Opposition is that he is actually bored by economics. He is not interested in the management of the economy, and that is why Peter Costello said we should never have him as deputy because he did not care about the welfare of Australians. (Time expired)