PMB – Labor’s Budget

Monday, 22 May 2023

Mr PITT: We’ve heard it all before: no changes to superannuation, no changes to franking credits, no changes to unrealised gains, no changes to capital gains, no changes to negative gearing—no changes to tax. That is not what happened. We saw now Prime Minister Anthony Albanese make commitments like this in the election campaign, and the people of Australia have been misled. Why is it so? Because this government wants to spend $185 billion in additional expenditure over the forwards in the most recent budget. That $185 billion has to be paid for.

As much as I’m reluctant to quote Campbell Newman, the former Premier of Queensland, I will on this one. He said just last week, ‘We see the RBA have their foot on the brake when it comes to the economy and inflation.’ They want inflation down, as we all do. We want interest rates under control, as we all do. But this government, this Treasurer and this Prime Minister have their foot on the accelerator, and you can’t have both. You cannot have both. With inflation running at seven per cent, the cost of living is completely out of control. We saw reports in the media just this morning. The humble loaf of bread—not the executive loaf; not the fancy loaf, Deputy Speaker Freelander, and I’m sure you’re a humble-loaf-of-bread individual—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr Freelander): Indeed.

Mr PITT: It’s up between 50 and 70 per cent. The humble loaf of bread is the basis of what many Australians feed their kids with. The price has gone up because inflation is out of control, and this government is adding fuel to the fire.

What we want to see is simpler and fairer taxes, not higher ones. We want to see the government control their expenditure, and we want to see that monetary and fiscal policy actually lines up. But what have we seen? We see two new board members for the RBA, and what’s their background? ACTU. I’m not sure what that adds in terms of monetary policy, but I don’t know that it’s all that strong. We will continue to see these types of changes from this government because they simply cannot help themselves. They are not interested in what those hardworking taxpayers are doing out there. They are the ones that are getting it in the neck. I don’t care whether you call them middle Australia or anyone else; it is every individual that is out there working hard, paying taxes that has to pay for the largesse of this federal government. In my electorate alone the loss of the low-income tax offset has impacted 51,000 people. That is an enormous number of individuals.

Mr Rob Mitchell: Why did you cut it?

Mr PITT: I hear the interjections. We actually kept paying it because they needed the money, and they need the money right now. They need it right now because their power bills are up, their gas bills are up, their mortgages are up, their interest rates are up. They simply can’t pay the fundamentals of what it costs to live in this country, because they don’t have enough disposable income. Yet this government wants to take more. They want to take more.

If we go back to what happens with me locally, we put out a survey, Hinkler’s biggest survey. Eighty-six per cent of respondents were worried about changes on their superannuation savings and the taxation that might affect them. As I have said, 51,000 have lost up to $1,500 in the low-income tax offset. Guess what? The 2021 census says the median weekly income in my electorate is $576. If a loaf of bread is up by 70 per cent, that’s a big chunk of your $576. Eighty-eight per cent of respondents to the survey are under pressure on their budget. Eighty-five per cent want affordable and reliable electricity, and 73 per cent, would you believe, are supportive of new nuclear energy, just as an aside. But we have so many people right now who can’t pay their rent, can’t pay their bills and can’t buy the basics, just food.

But what do we see from this Labor government? We see an acceleration of expenditure, $185 billion in the most recent budget. We will look to see what the RBA does at the next interest rate change. They are struggling with their mortgages, those who have them, if they can find a home. What is the proposed solution from those opposite? They’re going to bring in another 1.5 million people to this country, 400,000 in just one year. Where will they live? Right now the average construction rate in this country is around 200,000 homes a year. Sometimes it’s lower; sometimes it’s higher. But they are all struggling. They can’t find enough tradies. They are struggling with supply; they simply can’t build for demand. It is supply that will fix these challenges, and I urge those opposite to help them.

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