In Parliament

Motion: Government Business Program



Tuesday, 14 May 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (9:47):

The coalition will be opposing the government business program, and I move:

That the Government Business Program proposed by the Leader of the House be amended by omitting the order of the day, Government business, relating to the State Taxation Amendment Bill 2024.

The Government has proposed a Government Business Program that hides the Budget and rams it through this Chamber. That is what this Government Business Program does. Earlier today we saw the Leader of the House give notice of a debate on the Appropriations Bills – the Budget Bills – and exclude every Member who speaks on the original Bill today, so if you speak on the Bills before moving to the take-note Motion, you will be excluded from speaking twice. I am sure the Members on that side of the Chamber were not aware of what their Leader of the House was doing, because it is unprecedented for a Leader of the House to do that. Why are they doing that for the first time? Members over there, you can only speak once on these Budget Bills. Though there are two different options, you will be excluded from speaking about the Budget. We know why – a Budget that is $188 billion in debt.

The Coalition has moved an Amendment to the Government Business Program excluding the State Taxation Amendment Bill, a Bill that has not been second-read in this place. What is it? No-one would know. Victorians would not know, because they certainly have not seen it, so I think it is important to note for the house and for Victorians, in terms of understanding the Amendment, what that Bill does. What that Bill does is increase the waste services levy and also increase the fire services levy. In terms of the waste services levy, it is a 30 per cent increase. The total tax take from those two items – effectively two new taxes and charges, so we now have a total of 55 increased taxes or charges over the last 10 years – on those two introduced in the Budget is $1 billion.

And what has been the consultation? The Bill has not even been introduced into this place and the Government is proposing to guillotine it – guillotine a Bill that does not even exist in this place for Members to read, for the community to see. So, the Government is proposing to take another billion dollars out of Victorians’ pockets and will not even show the Bill before passing a motion to guillotine that Bill. It is shameful. That is why the Coalition is moving an Amendment to the Government Business Program.

But the other thing this Bill does, for the House’s information, is it further hurts non-Government schools by introducing a number of measures on non-Government
schools to put into effect the Government’s tax hit that they introduced last year. There are a number of measures secretly hidden in this Bill that the Government does not want Victorians to see – of course they do not, that is why they have not released it. They want agreement to guillotine debate on it before it has even been introduced. What the Government is proposing with the State Tax Bill is outrageous – two new taxes, no consultation, new measures that hurt religious institutions and non-Government schools through measures in that Bill, and consultation has not occurred. Consultation has not even occurred. It is outrageous to think that schools are being so perniciously hurt again in this budget, and there has been no reporting on it – of course there has not, because the Government is doing everything it can to hide it, and not just hide it from the community, it is blocking their own members from speaking on these items. But we know the Government has issues and I think we will see that with other Bills in coming weeks, like the Integrity Bill, which I know treats Ministers and backbenchers separately – but we will deal with that issue at another time. This is a Business Program that is flawed and it is hiding the truth from Victorians, so the Coalition will be wholeheartedly opposing it.