Page 809 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 April 2014

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MR HANSON: Yes, I do wish, and I think many people do wish. Simon Corbell is laughing because he has got Shane Rattenbury sitting in that chair, Madam Speaker, rather than Caroline Le Couteur, and he says to me, “You wish, you wish,” because he knows that Ms Le Couteur and I did not agree on many things. But what I think we can agree on is that she did have a passion and an understanding for this sector and also she had an independent mind—an independent mind beyond that of just simply the mantra fed to her from the Labor Party. I think she would have seen through what is going on here and she would have had a far more judicious look at this rather than just spruiking the sort of mantra that we are seeing from Mr Rattenbury who has, again, made himself indivisible from the Labor Party.

Turning to the substance of the issue, it is important to understand what this industry brings to Canberra. And it does bring employment. I note those opposite are trying to turn this into a debate but it is not. The building sector brings employment and we do need to diversify this economy. We need to build the economy beyond being simply a public service town, and this is the sector well positioned to do that. It has always provided many thousands of jobs either directly or indirectly, and this government is reducing those opportunities. It brings revenue and it brings important revenue for this town, be it through the land sale, be it through the building activity itself.

This revenue, I think, in many cases is too much but let us realise that the more building activity we have got, the more effective the construction sector is and the more it flourishes, the more revenue it will bring to us so that we can deliver those services like health on which now the Treasurer and the health minister are talking about reducing spending because, in their words, they do not have enough revenue. It builds our amenity, it builds our city. This is the industry that builds our houses where we live. It is an industry that builds our schools, our town centres and our cities. It is the industry that builds Canberra.

When we talk to the key stakeholders—and we have been doing that recently; in fact, just this week we talked to a key stakeholder group—they are not happy. They are not happy, on a range of issues, as has been articulated by my colleagues already. When we talk to individual builders, equally they are not happy. Their issues are on a different scale but equally they are challenged by the environment. When we talk to consumers, where this system has failed them equally, they are not happy.

What is evident—and we saw it yesterday in the botched attempt to try to put legislation through that is now going off to a bit of a sham committee—is that there is a problem. We have seen a range of problems. We were debating it here yesterday. If things were so good we would not have had this debate that we had here yesterday, with extraordinarily poorly presented legislation that the government was trying to ram through this place with hardly any scrutiny and any ability for the industry and others connected, consumers indeed, to consult on that legislation. It is disgraceful the way the government is trying to essentially plaster over the increasingly large cracks that confront the building sector.

There is no single issue, and that has been expressed very clearly by my colleagues. It is a culmination of issues. We have got builders going broke or doing it very tough,

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