Monday, 22 May 2023
Private Members' Business
That this House:
(1) acknowledges that the budget handed down on 9 May 2023 must deliver:
(a) fiscal restraint to take pressure off families;
(b) simpler and fairer taxes, not higher ones;
(c) real action on productivity to make small businesses and families' lives easier;
(d) measured relief for small businesses and families that does not add to inflation; and
(e) no more broken promises; and
(2) recognises that:
(a) the Government's second budget is an opportunity to correct the mistakes of its first; and
(b) in its first budget, the Government increased spending by $115 billion, made the structural deficit worse, and abandoned all goals of balancing the budget.
Australians were hopeful that the 2023 budget would deliver much-needed support in difficult economic conditions. Following a year of rampant inflation, a record number of consecutive interest rate rises and an ever-increasing cost of living, Australian families, small-business owners and retirees were hoping that the government would address the day-to-day living pressures they faced. This was an opportunity to ease the burden that was exacerbated by Labor's first budget, in October last year, when they did nothing.
Unfortunately, on 9 May hardworking Australian families—our vital middle class—were left bitterly disappointed. This budget utterly failed on multiple fronts. If you're a first home buyer saving whatever you can to secure a home, this budget does nothing to help you reach that goal. If you're a renter, this budget does nothing to address the increasing cost pressures that are increasing your weekly rents. If you're a small-business owner, this budget does nothing to ease the rapidly rising cost of doing business, and equally, this budget does nothing to address the issue of finding staff for your business.
This budget is clearly not a budget that is fair to all Australians. Instead, it reinforces the mistakes made in Labor's first budget, making it clear they have no plan to help Australians with the cost-of-living crisis. They have shown little fiscal restraint, with spending to increase by $185 billion, which will just place further pressure on Australian families.
Following so much build-up and hope, unsurprisingly Australians received a typical big-spending, big-taxing Labor budget. It confirmed that, under Labor, there will be no growth in real wages this year. The cost of living will continue to rise. Gas and electricity bills will continue to rise. As to unemployment, in a time when businesses across my electorate are struggling to find staff, the budget papers say that unemployment is going to rise. That is extraordinary. Inflation will remain stubbornly high, and Australians will continue to face higher taxes.
The fiscal pressures will continue to pile on from there. Despite the Prime Minister promising Australians some 97 times during the election campaign that he would reduce your power bill by $275, even their Energy Price Relief Plan for your electricity bills shows that they will continue to rise, and not by a small margin either. Electricity bills will go up by almost $500 through the time frame of this budget, and I know that in Queensland they're going to rise by some 20 per cent from 1 July. It's a far cry from a reduction of $275. All of these costs will continue to rise, and the consequence for everyday Australians is that their money will buy less each and every day. This budget has no plan to bring down inflation, which is impacting all Australians. We see through this budget that the Labor government have removed their priority to fight inflation at a time when inflation has been above seven per cent for three consecutive quarters.
This was in stark contrast to the coalition's last budget, where we cut the fuel excise in half; delivered a one-off $250 cost-of-living payment to six million Australians; introduced the low- and middle-income tax offset; helped to make the dream of homeownership a reality through HomeBuilder, the First Home Super Saver scheme and the Home Guarantee Scheme; and removed the cap on the instant asset write-off for small business. It's a coalition government that has shown the way forward. Much as those opposite deride our time in government, I'm proud of our record and the support we have provided over successive years to make our economy one of the strongest in the world, a foundation which those opposite can now build on but an opportunity which they haven't taken advantage of. I commend this motion to the House.