It gives me great pleasure to speak on the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day) Bill 2014—the spring repeal day. Potentially, the bill has four very important schedules to it. The member before me spoke so eloquently and passionately about the importance of repeal day savings to our nation, because we were shackled by enormous amounts of regulation and red tape. The previous speaker spoke about the benefit to small business in unshackling them to the tune of $1 billion, early in our first year. To this point in time we have now doubled that to $2 billion of reductions in red tape. It is an outstanding achievement, and there are many on this side of the House who should be congratulated. In particular, I pay homage to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg, who has done an enormous amount of work in this area. He is a great friend of mine and he is doing a fantastic job in assisting our small business sector and our corporate sector, and in assisting this parliament in reducing red tape. This spring repeal day bill goes to the heart of what this government is about: it is about less government, it is about less intervention in people's businesses, it is about giving them the power to make decisions and it is about giving them the opportunity to spend more time with their customers and more time developing their businesses rather than being stuck out the back filling out reams of paper and spending countless hours on compliance—and sometimes duplicated compliance between state, federal and local government requirements.
These federal repeals are vital if we are going to increase the nation's productivity and that, I can assure this House, is a priority and a goal of this government. The Abbott coalition government is getting on with the job of cutting red tape and regulation. We have now introduced legislation to repeal nearly 1,000 unnecessary pieces of legislation and regulation and 7,210 pages of legislation and regulation—that is the removal of an enormous hurdle. If you were to stand those pages on top of each other, I think you would nearly go close to having a stack of paper as tall as I am.
Before the election we promised to cut red tape by $1 billion dollars each year and yet again that is another commitment that we have honoured. We have honoured many commitments during our period in government. We said that we would cut $1 billion out of red tape and this piece of legislation, with its four schedules, goes to the very heart of that. During the election we also said that we would cut the carbon tax—it has gone. Households are now up to $550 a year better off and those benefits will start to flow through to households as those savings are materialised, and then hopefully that money will be spent in our small business sector. We made a commitment before the election that we would get rid of the mining tax—we did that. The mining sector is so critical to Australia's productivity, our growth and the direction of our nation.
We had reports this morning that in 2007-08 the terms of trade were at a 150-year record high. We also saw iron ore and coal prices up around $130 and today they are at $63. The rivers of gold flooded those on the other side when they were in government. We made a commitment that we would build the roads of the 21st century and there is now record money being spent on infrastructure, stimulating jobs and stimulating growth. We are building infrastructure all around this country. The nation will be a huge beneficiary of that sound investment for years and years to come. I challenge those who read this speech to have a look at some of the investments that were made by previous governments, such as investments that were made in installation programs—$4 billion, of which half was spent on putting insulation into roofs, then the program was axed halfway through and the remainder of the funds were spent pulling the insulation out of those same roofs. Hardly a sound investment, hardly adding to productivity and hardly benefiting the nation, and all done on borrowed money.
We said we would get the budget back under control and we will do that. There will be challenges along the way. Be under no doubt or illusion, we inherited the worst economy and the worst budget that we could ever have been gifted by an outgoing government. Most importantly, in addition to this bill, we said we would stop the boats—we have done that and we will continue to stay vigilant in that area of border security.
The latest repeal measures will save individuals, businesses and the not-for-profit sector more than $2.1 billion in compliance costs. Cutting red tape matters. Too much regulation hurts. Too much regulation can stifle business. It can stifle productivity. It deters investment and innovation and costs jobs. According to the World Economic Forum global competitive index, in 2014 Australia ranked 124 out of 148 countries for the burden of government regulation. That is a bizarre and perplexing statistic for a nation to be boasting about, and it is just not good enough. For a country as advanced as we are, that is not a statistic that we should be proud of. The Productivity Commission has estimated that regulation compliance costs could be about as much as four per cent of our total GDP—can you imagine what we could do with four per cent of our GDP.
We have made enormous changes since we came into government in September 2013. I want to make sure that those on the other side of the House do not forget the disastrous budget that we inherited and do not forget those 1,200 lives that were lost at sea while they were on the watch and while they were in charge of border security. I think during their term in government there were up to five or possibly even seven small business ministers. It was a revolving door of ministers looking after this very sector that will be the beneficiary of this repeal legislation.
I want to speak now to the schedules, of which there are four. Schedule 1 of the bill is to do with employer reporting of superannuation contributions on payslips. The payslip reporting provisions in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 require employers to include in employee payslips information prescribed by the regulations. Labor had intended that these regulations would be made specifying that employers had to report on payslips the amount of superannuation contributions and the date on which the employer expected to pay them. Labor did not make these regulations. The enabling legislation is, therefore, redundant and so we will repeal it. The superannuation contribution on an employee's payslip was not evidence that the actual superannuation contribution had been paid by the employer. So the only way that an employee could ascertain whether or not their contribution had been paid was to contact their super fund. Mostly you can do that through going online or receiving monthly, quarterly or sometimes annualised statements, depending on what your arrangement is with that particular fund. However, this is just a simple piece of legislation that we are repealing. This government is providing certainty for employers that they do not need to prepare for significant changes to the software that generates their payslips in respect of superannuation reporting.
Schedule 2 speaks to the consolidation and repeal of tax provisions. This measure simplifies the taxation laws by consolidating duplicated taxation administration provisions contained in various tax acts into a single location in a single act. This was put forward as part of Treasury's initial review of the Income Tax Regulations 1936 with a number of provisions in the principal law and regulations identified as duplicative, inoperative or spent. So these are recommendations that have come directly from Treasury. A number of provisions contained within the regulations were also identified as being more appropriately incorporated into the primary law. Overall, the changes will result in a material reduction in the size of the taxation laws, with one or two sections replacing in excess of 50 provisions. So 50 provisions we have replaced with one.
Schedule 3 is to do with the Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act 1998. This measure will remove a burden on some associates of a person who is seeking approval for a direct control interest of greater than 15 per cent in a financial sector company. The measure modifies the deemed share aggregation rules applying to associates such that associates who do not have a direct control interest in the company will no longer be required to seek approval for the shareholding. The changes in this bill do not compromise the examination of a shareholder's controlling interest. This measure removes the technical legislative trap that imposes an unnecessary regulatory burden.
Schedule 4 speaks to rewriting the definition of 'Australia'. This schedule goes to those people who may work offshore on oil rigs or in territories, or who are fishermen who work at sea who occasionally may drift in and out of Australian maritime area. This amendment organises and consolidates in one place a definition of Australia for tax purposes. This is another step towards achieving a single income assessment act for Australia. The rewritten provisions define 'Australia' for income tax and other taxation purposes. I was not aware that this was a provision being brought to the House, but, currently, if an individual working on an oil platform near Australia wanted to determine whether or not they had to pay Australian income tax, they would be required to navigate through up to 13 different Commonwealth acts to ascertain whether or not they were liable to pay Australian tax.
While each of these simplification and rewrite exercises may in isolation be small, collectively these changes continue an important process of simplification and deregulation, reducing the overall compliance cost burden faced by taxpayers. This bill continues the government's stated objective, to remove the burden of red tape. We on this side of the House seek to remove these shackles and enable businesses to grow and prosper. That is what we believe in. And what we are doing is getting on with the job of delivering better for business. Next year, I believe, will be a better year for business. It will be about the $1 trillion approvals that the Minister for the Environment, Minister Hunt, has approved. They will start to come through. We will see the benefits of the removal of the carbon tax. We will see the softening of the Australian dollar. We have seen the free trade agreements that have been negotiated, which will all have a positive impact on our businesses, whether it be the free trade agreement with China, or that with Korea or that with Japan. Yes, as a government we will lose some revenue on tariffs, but we are more than confident that we will pick up what we lose on that merry-go-round in increased productivity and sales. I suggest that this bill should go through the House without any opposition, so I commend this bill to the House.