House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Questions without Notice


2:10 pm

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. Will the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House how the McCormack-Morrison government's budget investment is supporting business in regional Australia as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Honourable Member:

An honourable member interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes. It is the Morrison-McCormack government, and I call the Deputy Prime Minister. It's either that or rule it out of order.

2:11 pm

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

Indeed it is, and long may that be the case! I do wish the opposition leader well, and I wish him long service leave in that position. I want to thank the 'Voice of the North', the 'Member for Regional Queensland', the member for Dawson. He is a fighter for his electorate. He knows that on 11 May, when the Treasurer stood in this spot and delivered the budget, he delivered a plan—a blueprint for the future—for our economic recovery out of COVID-19. It has been a challenging time. It has been a difficult time for North Queensland. It has been a difficult time for Queensland and, indeed, for our nation and the entire world.

The member for Dawson knows that we have the policies in place. He knows we have the plan and we're putting it into operation. He also knows that regional Queensland—indeed, regional Australia—is one of the big deliverers as we fight our way through and recover from COVID-19, through infrastructure, through construction, through $110 billion of infrastructure across this nation, supporting 100,000 workers. He knows that agriculture has grown to $66 billion, up $6 billion, on the back of drought, fires, floods, cyclones and indeed the virus, the global pandemic. He knows that the resources industry has been its best self, having grown quarter on quarter. Of course, the national accounts figures yesterday were very encouraging. They are showing the signs of a great future. Our economy has rebounded—into recession through COVID—back out of recession because of the policies and the plan that we have put into place. There are still plenty of jobs in regional Australia. Encouragingly, there are more people in work right now than there were pre COVID. The unemployment rate is lower than when we came into government, in 2013. They are positive signs for the economy.

The instant asset write-off has been such a boon for small businesses around the country. But don't take my word for it. Dion Loader is a painter from Mackay, in the member for Dawson's electorate. He has a painting and maintenance business. He took advantage of the instant asset write-off and purchased a new work vehicle—a Mitsubishi Triton, no less. He said of the instant asset write-off: 'Obviously this meant I had to pay less tax, which helped with my cash-flow situation, which had decreased dramatically. It was good to have that little bit of extra help to supplement my JobKeeper payments.' He's paying less tax. He's got more incentive. He's got the risk-taking ability that all small business has. It's the private sector that's helping us through this. It's not government; it's the private sector. They're the risk-takers. They're the ones that are supporting the economy. They're the ones that are going to build us through the recovery period and out of COVID-19. (Time expired)

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I am reminding people again. I've issued a general warning, particularly to the member—

Mr Albanese interjecting

Leader of the Opposition, it's not a never-ending conversation.

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

He's very friendly.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Well, as you've probably gathered, I'm not as friendly. The Deputy Manager of Opposition Business.