CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (14:14): My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, as you know, Australia is a land
of great diversity, and budget measures may sometimes have unintended consequences on certain sectors of
the population. In previous years, to avoid potential disadvantage to country people, a budget impact statement on regional Australia has accompanied every budget; not so this year. Will you please commit to including a budget impact statement on regional Australia in the 2015-16 budgets so that we can understand the impacts and effectiveness?
Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting—
The SPEAKER: If the member for Hunter wishes to leave, he will interject again.
TREASURER JOE HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:15): I thank the honourable member for the question. On 2 June, the Deputy Prime Minister issued what would have to be probably the most comprehensive statement ever issued about the impact
of the budget on regional communities. It is a commendable document, and I commend it for that reason. It is comprehensive, and the Minister for Regional Development, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the deputy minister, put out a document that
summarised right across the board the impacts of our decisions in the budget on regional Australia.
In fact on budget night we put out a number of documents which mainstreamed the impact of budget decisions on regional Australia—for example, this wonderful infrastructure document. You were lauding it the other day actually, Prime Minister.
Mr Perrett interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton is warned.
Mr HOCKEY: The document gives quite some detail. We are spending $5.6 billion on the Pacific Highway, $1.5 billion on the regional rail link in Victoria, $6.7 billion on the Bruce Highway, and a range of other initiatives that are all about building a stronger region. But I can assure the honourable member—
Mr Albanese interjecting—
The SPEAKER: If the member for Grayndler wishes to leave—
Mr HOCKEY: that there are a number of other initiatives that we are delivering on that are going to help regional Australia.
The starting point is to get rid of the carbon tax. That is what we promised and that is what we have delivered. That means that regional Australia, as well as the whole of Australia, is going to benefit from lower costs of energy, and is going to benefit by not
having a comparative disadvantage in exports with other nations.
The other thing we are doing which is part of the budget is: we are determined to get rid of the mining tax. As we speak right now, the repeal of the mining tax is passing through the Senate. Why so? Because we went to two elections promising to get rid of that insidious tax. Only the Labor Party could come up with a tax that raises no money.
Opposition members interjecting—
Mr HOCKEY: Sorry—it raises one per cent of what it promised. The member for Lilley and former Treasurer used to say: 'the mining tax is about redistributing the wealth of Australia'. That tax was so successful it redistributed 2½c to every Australian over the last 12 months. The problem is that it has $17 billion of expenditure against it. So I commend the member for Lilley for putting in the page of history a new benchmark on taxation: a tax that destroys jobs, a tax that destroys business, a tax that raises no money. We are getting rid of that tax and that is to the great benefit of regional Australia.
The SPEAKER: The document is tabled.