House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 1) Bill 2022; Second Reading

1:07 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

For the information of the House, before you call the shadow Treasurer, I'd reported privately to members, and had also made clear on the floor of the House yesterday, that we needed to get a bill across to the Senate before question time. At that time, I was unaware of the second reading amendment being moved to the previous bill, which members are entitled to move, but I was unaware until this morning of that happening. I didn't realise a division was going to be called. That being said, after the shadow Treasurer speaks, because I'll allow that, I will probably be in a position where I have to move that the question be put on this bill, otherwise we will get to question time without having actually sent any legislation across to the Senate.

1:08 pm

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

TAYLOR () (): The opposition welcomes this bill, the Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 1) Bill 2022, to the extent that it extends and implements the key measures of the former government's economic plan. The bill delivers key measures of this commitment to provide cost-of-living relief to disaster affected communities, to support women's sport and to cut red tape for businesses. The bill brings together a number of treasury measures which were included in bills that lapsed at the election. It covers measures that include schedule 1, implementing important protections around recovery grants for Cyclone Seroja; schedule 2, supporting transitional provisions relating to the repeal of the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993; schedule 3, implementing the income tax and withholding exemptions for the FIFA Women's World Cup; and schedule 4, making a number of minor and technical amendments, including tidying up drafting errors and consequential amendments in previous legislation and extending the automatic commencement date for the Modernising Business Registers bill.

This is an uncontroversial bill which wouldn't normally be debated, and the fact we are debating it points to the lack of economic plan from this government. We could be debating cost-of-living relief measures to support families and businesses, but we are debating this instead. Schedule 4, among many minor and technical changes, extends the automatic commencement date for Modernising Business Registers. A lot's been written about this in recent days. All decisions taken with regard to the Modernising Business Registers program were included in the coalition's 2022-23 budget and independently confirmed by the secretaries of Treasury and Finance at the 2022 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

Noting the minister's comments in his second reading speech, I must add that the government's attempt to politicise this would have more credibility if they weren't running ahead with a plan to further drive up debt and government spending. The fact is that this government went to the election proposing to run bigger deficits. That's what they went to the election with. This was confirmed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, which showed the platform this government took to the election would make the budget bottom line worse. In contrast, the PBO confirmed that the coalition were the only parties that went to the election with a pathway to improve the budget bottom line. So, while the opposition will be supporting this bill, the attempted politicisation of this measure by the government, despite their supposed support of it, is a damning example of their approach to economic policy.

Modernising Business Registers is a key deregulation measure that will cut red tape, reduce the compliance burden and support small businesses around Australia to manage their own affairs. This will support small business owners to save time, making it easier to deal with government and cutting red tape that's a drag on productivity. business owners' time and the resources of government. The Modernising Business Registers program will unify the systems and data, allowing users to manage their registrations and compliance in one location.

We took action in government to reduce business costs and make interactions with government simpler and quicker by modernising our business registers. While we welcome the government's commitment to continue the program, it is astounding that they have delayed this measure until next year or the year after or the year after that. Indeed, for a key productivity measure, the government seem happy to kick it into the long grass all the way to 2026.

So, while we do not oppose this bill, as it continues a lot of good work of the previous coalition government, we call upon the government once again to outline a plan to address the challenges facing Australia's economy. The government can make choices to address these pressures. The opposition can, and will, hold them to account for how they respond to those pressures. The risk for Australia is that this government will make a bad situation worse. At the moment, the only plan the government has is to make Australians poorer.

1:12 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the question be now put.

Photo of Ian GoodenoughIan Goodenough (Moore, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the question be now put.

Question agreed to.

The question is that the bill be now read a second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.