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On Monday of last week the Prime Minister, the Honourable Tony Abbott, was generous enough to visit light food manufacturer Frutex within my electorate of Barton.
During the visit, the Prime Minister met with members of the local Magiros family at their Kingsgrove facility to familiarise himself with one of the largest manufacturing employers in my electorate of Barton.
The Prime Minister and myself determined the state and capability of locally-based Australian manufacturing and ascertained the business owners’ concerns for the impact of regulatory costs such as the carbon tax on their operations.
The owners of the local manufacturer informed us of the pressures that the carbon tax has had on their business which had contributed to a dramatic increase in electricity bills.
The Prime Minister and I reiterated the Coalition’s support for a viable manufacturing sector and noted the cost burden placed on local manufacturers such as Frutex.
The Prime Minister was insightful to acknowledge Frutex as “a great Australian success story”, noting the opportunities and successes that have marked the lives of the Magiros family and many other immigrant families within my electorate of Barton.
Manufacturing is an iconic and valued component of the Australian economy and of the Barton electorate, a component of the market that employs many people of diverse and valuable skillsets.
Considering this vital role that manufacturing plays in employing Australians, government should be concerned when we are continually told that the cost of running a business in an Australian context is too high. Over the past six months the business owners in my electorate have pleaded with me to get across to lawmakers the that ordinary Australian business owners are in dire straits and struggling to keep their operations afloat.
As a Parliament, by maintaining regulations and taxes that strangle, rather than encourage productivity, we are sending businesses the wrong message. We are sending the message that if you run a business, you have to stretch yourself thin to fit in with government. You have to dedicate yourself to paperwork, you have to bend over backwards for red tape requirements, you have to see your bottom line affected not because of your poor business decisions but because government is strangling carbon-reliant industries.
No, the message we should be sending is that if you are running a business – an operation that provides vital and innovative production and employment to Australians – government has to fit in with you. Government has to be able to step aside, get out of the way, and enable your business the space and encouragement it needs to flourish. Representatives have to find ways to step up to the plate and repeal the laws that slow local businesses in their electorates down, whatever side of the Chamber they sit.
After all, this toxic tax hasn’t seen real progress for our natural environment. My constituents do want to see a constructive, not destructive, approach, to environmental reform – they care about the tangible state of their rivers, waterways, foreshores and street paths. They want clean air to breathe, clean water in which to swim and parks and neighbourhoods in a respectable state. But they don’t want top-down taxes that hurt their household budgets or bottom lines. No, this tax has not seen real progress for our natural environment. Instead it has seen a stranglehold placed on the business environment – an environment right at the heart of Australian life and of my electorate of Barton.
Further to the cost of business, residents in my electorate of Barton have raised legitimate concerns regarding the cost of living imposed by the carbon tax. Last year I doorknocked thousands of homes in my local area. The single biggest concern that was spurring residents to connect with government was an unjustifiable spike in their cost of living. Average local families will be set back by $550 this year alone because of the impact of the carbon tax. That’s a lot of school books, dental appointments and maintenance jobs that families will have to forgo this year.
That’s why people in my community are growing impatient with the Labor government’s obstructive approach after we were given a clear mandate on September 7th to repeal the carbon tax. People want to see this redundant cost lifted from their lives and lifted from the operation of their small businesses.
Now, the only person standing in our way is the Opposition Leader and his obstructive team.
It was clear from the Prime Minister’s time with us on Monday that the Federal Government is listening to local manufacturers, so I thank the Prime Minister for visiting our electorate and for renewing his pledge to repeal the carbon tax.
As the Federal Member for Barton, I’m proud to be part of his team fighting for the future of local manufacturing.