House debates

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Questions without Notice


2:39 pm

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the government's approach to generating jobs and growing the economy? How does this compare with other approaches?

Photo of Malcolm TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for her question. She represents hardworking Australians and hardworking Australian businesses who want encouragement from their government to get ahead. We know that jobs are created by business. They are created by the enterprise, the investment, the vision and the risk-taking of Australian businesses. So how can we encourage them? We know that governments cannot just flick a switch and create strong business conditions. We know that we have to provide the incentives for business to get on and take on new workers and new challenges. That is why we are committed to reducing company tax. It is because we know, as Labor once did and often said, that if you reduce company tax you increase the return on investment, so you get more investment and you get more employment. That is the key.

How are we going to compete in the world for capital, for jobs and for investment when the UK is moving its company tax down below 20 per cent and the United States is heading below 20 per cent? We have one of the highest company tax regimes in the world, but capital is mobile. We have to be competitive. We owe it to Australians to ensure that the businesses they rely on for their jobs can employ them and will invest. That is what we are doing.

At the same time we are cracking down on tax avoidance. Yes, we believe that taxes should be lower—we do—but they are not optional. We do not accept a self-help approach to tax reform. So we have introduced multinational tax avoidance measures, just as we are seeking to reduce company tax. Now, as we seek to stamp out multinational tax avoidance and to lower business tax, the Labor Party oppose both. They will not support cuts in company tax—although they once did—and they voted against the Treasurer's multinational tax avoidance legislation. It is extraordinary. It shows how hopelessly politically partisan they have become.

Then, when it comes to the important issue of energy, everything we are doing is securing our energy future—making gas available, making storage available, and Snowy Hydro 2.0. What has Labor done on energy? One ideological commitment after another and a 50 per cent renewable target. We know where that leads. It leads to the situation in South Australia, with the most expensive and least reliable electricity in the nation.