May 23, 2005

Private Members’ Business – Land and Vendor Taxes

23 May 2005: PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS Land and Vendor Taxes

23 May 2005

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (3.18 p.m.)—This is a rather pathetic attempt to pre-empt the New South Wales budget, which will be handed down tomorrow. The fact is that, when you look at New South Wales finances and then you look at Commonwealth finances, you get some interesting figures. Total New South Wales revenues grew by 14.7 per cent between 2001-02 and 2004-05. This represented an annual average increase of 4.7 per cent. Commonwealth revenues increased by 22.6 per cent during this period—an average annual increase of around seven per cent. Commonwealth company tax increased from $27 billion in 2001-02 to an expected $41 billion in 2004-05, an increase of 51 per cent—or an annual average increase of 14.6 per cent. In 2003-04 New South Wales residents paid around $11,000 per capita in Commonwealth taxes, including the GST. The GST was around $1,800 per capita. In 2003-04 New South Wales residents paid around $2,248 per capita in New South Wales taxes. For every dollar that New South Wales taxpayers pay to the state, they pay around $5 to the Commonwealth. Those are the facts of the matter, from the highest taxing government in Australia’s history.

It is also interesting that in New South Wales the Commonwealth is threatening to cut off national competition payments from 2006-07. I invite the New South Wales members of the House of Representatives to actually complain and take to their ministers the issue of why $260 million is being taken from New South Wales.

This couples with the government’s ideological agenda to tie up all capital funding with their new IR requirements. We have the absurd situation where funding for the National Water Initiative, which is important in terms of overcoming drought, is linked to industrial relations. When it comes to the needs of farmers in New South Wales, I am sure that when the water runs out in Goulburn, they will not be asking whether the government’s IR policies have been supported by the New South Wales government.

The biggest factor in housing in New South Wales is, of course, interest rates. What we have seen is the Commonwealth break its promise to the electorate, with interest rates rising and the prospect of more to come.

When it comes to Commonwealth-state finances, you need go no further than the issue of skills. We have seen massive cuts in funding in real terms for the ANTA agreements, with the states having to pick up the slack and ensure that there are at least some skilled workers being trained.

The fact is that I am not surprised that the members opposite moved this motion, but they should have a look at the papers that are available to them. In its Commonwealth state financial relations section, the federal government Commonwealth Budget Paper No. 3 from last year stated:

For example, the CGC assessed that New South Wales has a relatively stronger capacity to raise revenue from land tax and stamp duty on property transfers and payroll tax …

So, while they are here saying it should be withdrawn, last year’s budget papers say it should be increased. They need to make up their minds. But we all know what is motivating the members for Greenway, Lindsay and Macquarie in this. The member for Greenway is a product of it already. The member for Greenway is a product of the right-wing takeover of the New South Wales branch which occurred last Friday. The member for Macquarie, Kerry Bartlett, has a couple of small ‘l’ liberal views and he can hear the jackboots coming up to Macquarie, as extreme conservatives and members of One Nation take over the Liberal Party—people like Alex Hawke and David Clarke. Alex Hawke does not think John Brogden, the leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party, belongs in the Liberal Party! That is the motivating factor—

Mr Lloyd—Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I draw your attention to the relevance of the contribution of the member opposite. Can you ask him to come back to the point of the motion.

The SPEAKER—The member for Grayndler will come back to the motion.

Mr ALBANESE—They do not like to hear it, Mr Speaker, because their party has been taken over. In the biggest branch-stacking exercise—(Time expired)