Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Amendment Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Tax Laws Amendment (Stronger, Fairer, Simpler and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2011; Second Reading
We did it from revenue, because we were prudent managers of budgets. The very successful Regional Partnerships program and the Sustainable Regions Program—if we want to refer to regional infrastructure—were programs run out of budget revenue. We did not introduce a new tax. It just demonstrates the way that this government thinks. If it wants to do something, it thinks, 'Where can we tax the taxpayers? Where can we tax, in this case, the resource sector? Where can we get more money?' It is about taxing and spending. That seems to be its whole modus operandi. It just cannot manage money.
I mentioned Labor's Regional Development Australia funding. We have had one round of that, and we have had all our regional development committees in our electorates. I encouraged mine in my electorate of Maranoa to get out there and get worthwhile projects. We have had local mayors and committees meeting and organisations and businesses putting their submissions forward. They were then short-listed by the Regional Development Australia committee. People travelled hundreds and hundreds of miles and gave their time to go through this process. Then, of course, the announcement came. West of the range in Queensland, not one project was funded, notwithstanding that we had some very, very worthwhile projects.
What is even more interesting is that the government says it was a program for regional Australia. In fact, at the opening of parliament, when the Prime Minister took the vote from the crossbenches to enable her to become Prime Minister, she said that she was going to be a Prime Minister for regional Australia. The very first chance she had with her government and her leadership to be able to deliver to regional Australia was with those announcements for regional Australia.
Labor holds just 23 of the 62 regional electorates in Australia. Most of the electorates are held by the coalition in regional Australia and yet in the first round of grants we were missing in action. Our electorates were somehow just not considered to be regional Australia. It is about trusting the government with money. Why would we support this new tax and trust them to do as they have pledged to do if they are successful in getting this legislation through both houses of parliament? We really cannot trust them.
We had wonderful projects put forward by organisations in my electorate. Mr Deputy Speaker Adams, you would know very well an area out there in western Queensland very near Mount Margaret—Plevna Downs. I think you may know the property well from your days when you were involved in the wool industry. Some magnificent dinosaur remains were recently discovered there. There is a wonderful project there and they need some regional development funds for that. A lot of work went into a very professional application. It had support from the oil and gas industry out in that part of the world and from the local government. But did the grant come through? No, it did not.
We submitted a regional development grant application in Longreach for the Stockman's Hall of Fame. We submitted one to establish a Barcaldine day care centre where there is not a day care centre today. If we are going to keep young people in rural and outback Australia, we have to have the infrastructure that supports young families. The regional council based out of Roma, the Maranoa Regional Council, had a great project to provide a new aged-care facility in the town of Mitchell so that they could keep their community together and so that people as they aged would have the confidence they could move from their home into an aged-care facility that was approved and accredited. Whilst the one they have now is a wonderful building, the community accepts that one day it will not meet accreditation standards and it is thinking about the future. Did it get funded? No.
I will certainly be watching the next round of funding. I have got all of my energy focused on those communities that put in applications before, making sure they meet the new guidelines because they have changed again. I will be encouraging them to shortlist two or three or four in each of the regional development areas in Maranoa, of which there are three, and submitting those projects again. I hope that this time we will see the process deliver for the genuine areas out there in regional Australia that have very worthwhile projects that do deserve the support of the government.
When I talk about the experience of dealing with Labor governments and how they manage money, there is no better example of the mismanagement of money than the Queensland Labor government. They have been in government almost continuously for a little over 20-odd years now. They are confronting the electorate next year. When it comes to managing money the Queensland Labor government just have not got a clue. Against the backdrop of the biggest mining and resources boom that we have seen in Queensland, the Labor government continue to rack up debt. They have racked up a $89 billion to $90 billion debt against the backdrop of the growth that we have had in the state of Queensland and the receipt of huge mining royalties. Against the backdrop of all that they were still able to mismanage the economy and rack up debt to the tune of $84 billion to $85 billion. I cannot give you an accurate figure but it is in that order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Not only have they racked up this debt against the backdrop of the biggest mining boom in Queensland where they received something like $3 billion in the 2008-09 year as mining royalties but this federal government, I understand, also want to get their fingers into that pie as well.
Queensland has also lost its triple-A credit rating. That is an absolute disgrace for the state of Queensland. No wonder Queenslanders are going to revolt against this government at the next state election. We have always believed in our great state of Queensland and the growth of Queensland. We do not take failure in Queensland, but we have a failed Labor government up there that has failed to manage the economy.