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Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Page: 242

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (2:38 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Will the minister update the House on how the government’s Nation Building and Jobs Plan will support Australian families such as those in my electorate of Braddon and on any responses?

Ms MACKLIN (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) —I thank the member for Braddon for his question and for the very hard work that he does for the families in his electorate, in that part of Tasmania. Yesterday there was some new hope for Australian families. Mums and dads can breathe just a little easier with the announcement of the government’s $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan. It is an economy-boosting plan from a government that is determined to take the decisive action needed to support families and jobs. Under the plan, 8.7 million taxpayers get a tax bonus of up to $950, 2.7 million school-age children attract a $950 back-to-school bonus, 1.5 million single-income family households get a $950 single-income family bonus and families relying on the housing and construction sectors could feel a little more confident knowing that 21,000 jobs are going to be supported by the government’s investment in the social housing sector—$6.4 billion of investment.

The Leader of the Opposition wants to kill that hope and confidence of Australian families. He does not care about the millions of jobs that will be under threat if families do not get these tax bonuses and payments. He does not care about stopping support for the 21,000 jobs in the housing and construction sector. Every single time an Australian parent loses their job, the Leader of the Opposition will need to answer to those parents about why he is opposing this Nation Building and Jobs Plan. All of us on this side of the House and many other Australians know exactly why the Leader of the Opposition is doing this: for base political purposes—no other.

It must be a pretty lonely place over there. The Business Council of Australia right through to Anglicare all understand why this plan needs to be supported. The opposition has got this gravely and dangerously wrong. Just this morning—as the Prime Minister and the Treasurer said so clearly today—we have got the final nail in the Leader of the Opposition’s coffin, with the retail sales figures up by 3.8 per cent. The Leader of the Opposition might not have noticed, but these are the biggest monthly increases since August 2000. The figures do not lie. The economic strategy payments in December did their job, and the Leader of the Opposition should now make sure he supports the government’s actions in our $42 billion package so that people can keep their jobs.