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Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Page: 412

Ms HALL (3:33 AM) —The contribution from the member for Indi on the Appropriation (Nation Building and Jobs) Bill (No. 1) 2008-2009 and cognate bills and related bills just shows that the opposition does not get it. There is a global financial crisis. It is not a financial crisis in Australia; it is not a financial crisis created by the government; rather it is a global financial crisis. We have markets crashing and financial institutions spiralling downwards. Listening to her contribution, one can only assume that the response that she favours is to leave it to the market and everything will be all right. On this side of the House we believe that it is beholden on government to offer real solutions and to put in place the best possible package to try to protect our economy and thereby protect the Australian people. The global financial crisis has had and will continue to have a negative impact on our budget, but to protect Australians we have developed this package.

This is a very rounded package. It is a package that looks at generating an immediate stimulus to the economy by providing people with one-off payments. There has been much talk on the other side about the one-off payments that were made at the end of last year and how they were not spent or how they were spent. I have to report to the House that the feedback that I have received in my electorate is that people have used those one-off payments very effectively. In this package there is the back-to-school bonus in which a one-off payment of $950 will be made for each child to families who are entitled to family tax benefit A. There is the farmers hardship bonus of $950. There are training and learning bonuses. This package is in recognition of the fact that Australians are finding it difficult at the moment. It is in recognition of the fact that, if families have money to spend, our economy will be much better off. One of my constituents has a business supplying equipment to the disabled, and she reported to me that, with the bonus to seniors last year, she had an increase in business and that this year she has had a subsequent increase in the servicing of that equipment. This demonstrates quite effectively that the money that was given last year was used for the purpose for which it was given.

There will also be a $950 tax bonus for people with an income up to $80,000, and a $650 bonus for people with an income between $80,000 and $90,000. There will also be a $300 bonus paid to taxpayers who have an income between $90,000 and $100,000. In these times, giving people bonuses is much better than giving them tax cuts because they will have money that they can spend immediately. It will inject money into the economy, which will ensure that our economy keeps ticking along.

In addition, there is a massive investment in infrastructure through the money that will be ploughed into the building of schools as part of the education revolution. That will see every school throughout our nation becoming a hive of economic activity. The construction work that will be involved will keep that industry turning over. Initiatives have also been put in place in relation to the greening of our Australian homes.

This is a good package; it is a sensible package; and it is a balanced package. It is designed to stimulate the economy and to invest in the long-term infrastructure of Australia. I commend the Prime Minister and the government for putting together this package, and I support it wholeheartedly.