Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (16:12): I am sure that, as the nation looks on, it would be suggested that this is a very aggressive debate. It is budget time and we will have opposing opinions in this fiscal space—and rightfully so. As politicians, we need to own the image that we portray to the Australian public when a budget is put before the Australian people and the opposition is opposing it just for the sake of opposition. To state that this is an unfair budget and that all the measures in it should be repealed or voted against is just such an overreach.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I declare to you that in the education space every school in my electorate, some 71 primary schools and high schools, will be financially better off, not only next year but over the next 10 years. All Saints’ School at Boonah will receive an increase of $71,900. This is a significant amount of money for a small community, where sometimes the biggest fundraiser is the school fete over the course of the year. It will have a one-yearly increase of $71,000 next year. Saint Mary’s school will receive $109,000. State schools do not miss out. The Lockyer District High School will pick up $177,000. I will not labour the point by listing all of my schools, of which there are 71 throughout the electorate, representing no fewer than 23,200 students. This is a fair package. Every one of my schools goes up in funding. Every one of my schools is going to be better off under these budget measures. To say that this budget is unfair is either uninformed or an overreach; it is fair.
I also want to mention something else that I think is fair in this budget, and that is the removal of the $7,500 childcare cap. If you are a mum or a dad and paying a couple of hundred dollars a day or whatever the rate may be for child care—my daughter is 22 and is well out of that realm now; let’s assume you are paying $200 a day—you would make a 50 per cent claim up to $7,500. That cap has now been removed. So, if you are paying for child care, what you can claim up to is now unlimited. You will tap into that. To those sitting on the other side who say that is unfair and that working mums and dads should have that cap left in place, I beg to differ. And that is okay—within this place we can have differing opinions. But to say that it is unfair for our small businesses to be taking advantage of the reduction in company tax rate to 27 per cent is unfounded. For some of the businesses that will benefit from that in my electorate, which I will come to, it is significant, and, in addition to that, my businesses have told me, overwhelmingly, about the benefits of the instant $20,000 cash write-off. To those opposite who come into this place and say that those measures and provisions within this Appropriations Bill (No. 1) are unfair, can I say they are unfounded comments. There is a bolt of stuff in this bill that is fair. It is fair. I can only assume that, when the time comes, those who are claiming that this is unfair will walk into this chamber and vote against those measures. They will vote against my schools receiving their benefits. They will vote against the pensioners getting their support for that one off energy reform.
The budget makes record investments not only in my electorate but also in roads and rail right across the country. I will not labour the point of what some of them are, but some of the things that I think are fair on both sides of the House are the $500 million regional infrastructure package that will fund an additional round, round 3, of our Building Better Regions Fund, which those on the other side have been beneficiaries of, and the third round of the Stronger Communities Program. I challenge anyone to say that both of those programs were unfairly distributed right throughout the entire country. They are well thought out and should be supported.
We are creating up to $1.5 billion in the Skilling Australia Fund to help train up to 300,000 Australian apprentices and trainees in key trade skills. This will get more young Australians into work and help Australians grow into business. How can that be unfair? There are many provisions in this bill which are outstanding. We will support pensioners, veterans, schoolkids, teachers, small businesses, parents and child care, and we will be supporting the banks paying their fair share. This is a fair bill. I recommended it to the House and ask for Labor’s support.
Video of speech: https://youtu.be/t27WEAKYWss