House debates

Monday, 22 May 2023

Private Members' Business


11:42 am

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, it is gone, Member for McEwen. If you want to go and sell it, you'll be misleading the public. This was a typical Labor budget—all airy-fairy and fluffy but no actual infrastructure.

The member for Spence talked about small business: 'The $20,000 instant asset write-off is fantastic.' It was unlimited under the coalition. When times got tough we didn't put a restriction on the amount that small businesses could go and fund. Indeed, for the tradie who wanted to get a ute for his business we enabled them to buy that complete ute, not a spare tyre. That's all you get under this mob, and that's a fact.

Real wages are stagnant at the moment. The cost of living is one thing that's gone up under Labor. On power prices, what did we hear 97 times? Ninety-seven times we heard the Prime Minister utter the words, 'Well, there's going to be a $275 power cut.' Where is that power cut? Don't worry about the little asterisk, the little disclaimer: 'Oh, it'll be in five years from now.' I call rubbish, because people out there aren't saying, 'My power bills are going down.' They are saying that they are going up, because they indeed are. You look at the interest rates—up, up, up, up. They're just increasing. Unemployment has gone up. Indeed, when we were—

Government members interjecting

I hear those opposite say, 'Oh, what did we get for all the debt?' Well, I'll tell you what we got. We actually saved 60,000 people's lives during the pandemic.

Don't rock your head back and go, 'Oh,' Member for McEwen. That's the prospect that we were faced with. That's the premise that we were given: 60,000 lives were going to be lost within weeks or months, and we put the action in place to ensure that we protected not only people's lives but their livelihoods. That's what we did. At the same time, through JobKeeper, we protected hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of thousands of small businesses. We kept their doors open because of the policies that we put in place. What did we hear that those opposite wanted to do? They wanted to pay people to get jabs. They go on about the debt and mislead the parliament about a trillion dollars worth of debt. They would have made the debt even higher, and it's already gone up. The debt has gone in the one year and one day that those opposite have been in power. That is a fact. That is an absolute truth.

In the budget, even on the infrastructure projects that have been put on hold, in the future they are not even going to give local communities the input. They're going to have Canberra decisions made for local projects made around the regions, and that is a disgrace. National Emergency Management Agency staff have already been cut from the regions. That's an absolute fact. There's no localism. There's hardly any money. The veterans wellness centres have all been taken out of coalition seats—such as in Wagga Wagga, where we have all three arms of the military—and gone to Labor seats. Under the Mobile Black Spot Program, all the grants made in New South Wales have been to Labor seats. They talk about colour coded spreadsheets. The only colour on Labor spreadsheets is red—red for Labor and red for debt. This is the true Labor that we get. What a miserable 12 months! What a miserable lot you are!


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