Private Members Business – Stronger Economy
Mr PITT: It’s always a pleasure to follow the member for Scullin. Whilst I don’t agree with his proposition, it’s very, very clear that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If you want to look at the economic strategy which is being delivered by the coalition, you need only look at the numbers. What we know is that the unemployment rate for those looking for a job in September was down 0.3 per cent to 5 per cent. We know that we have passed through parliament the reduction in the small business tax, so by 2021-22 those small businesses out there with under $50 million turnover will be paying a tax rate of only 25 per cent. We have Minister Angus Taylor. He is out there on the job, looking to drive down electricity prices. Now, I know that he is hamstrung by state governments—in particular, the hapless and incompetent ones like the Queensland Labor government led by Annastacia Palaszczuk—but he is looking to drive down the price of energy in this country.
All of those things put money back into people’s pockets so they can decide what it is that they will do with their money. We know what the opposition side would do if they were in government. They would increase taxes by $200 billion. That is not a small number. That is $200,000 million in taxes which the Australian people would have to pay to those opposite. And what will they do with it? They will give it to someone else. I think it’s far more important that we continue to drive our economy. We have been successful to date. We’ll continue to be successful. More importantly, we are able to deliver the services that the Australian people need.
As you know, Mr Deputy Speaker Gee, I’m a passionate Queenslander.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Gee): I do know.
Mr PITT: As I said, we have this incompetent Labor government in Queensland. In fact, independent figures, which were released just last week, have revealed that the Queensland government is cutting funding to local hospitals in the Wide Bay region. We hear a lot about cuts from those opposite. Here is the reality: these figures from the independent National Health Funding Body show that federal government funding has grown by 78 per cent from 2012-13 in comparison with federal Labor, and state Labor has cut nearly $4 million in the last year alone—2016-17 to 2017-18. During this time, our contribution increased by $25 million. These are the stated facts. We are putting up funding to hospitals. State Labor in Queensland is cutting those funds, and that affects our local people.
The member for Wide Bay is in the chamber. I know that he is a passionate defender of the rights of people in Wide Bay. We have offered a new five-year funding agreement that will deliver $130 billion in Commonwealth hospital funding, including $30 billion in additional funding across Australia. That is an increase. We are able to do that because of a strengthening Australian economy. We are putting the structures in place for our economy to grow. We are being successful. It is very, very clear from the numbers that it is working.
Locally, we continue to invest in regional areas, because for me, as a local member, a strong regional economy means more local jobs, and that is what we are all about. In fact, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks announced just last week that they will invest $156 million in a super brewery. That is the biggest manufacturing plant in our region, in our history, to the best of my knowledge, with the assistance of a $19 million grant from the federal government’s Regional Growth Fund. So we are investing in regional Queensland, in regional Australia, and we are keeping those jobs local. An icon like Bundaberg Brewed Drinks will not be moving overseas. They’ll be staying local, driving hundreds of jobs—in fact, over 213 jobs in construction and 147 jobs post construction. This is a 45,000 square metre facility on a greenfield site. It is an incredible investment. I’m very pleased that the family-owned company has actually invested in our local region again. We have Superior Pak, who are manufacturing rubbish trucks for councils all over the country. They’ve got about 200 staff and a very large apprentice intake, which I’m very pleased about. Consolidated Linen Service in Hervey Bay continue to grow—but back to the PMB.
There couldn’t be a bigger contrast. We are driving the economy. Business is growing. We are producing more local jobs. More strength in our economy means more opportunities for our people. If the opposition get into government, there will be $200 billion in additional taxes and increases in electricity prices. If you are one of those people who have earned your hard-earned, you are a self-funded retiree and you happen to have a share portfolio, those opposite will take away your imputation credits, which could be used to pay your rates bill or your electricity bill—all of the bills that come along. There is a great risk with the opposition. As the coalition government, we are strengthening the economy and we’ll continue to do so.