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Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Page: 13718


Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:16): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline for the House what the OECD Economic Outlook says about the resilience of the Australian economy?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:16): I thank the member for Moreton for that very important question on policy. Everybody on this side of the House is concerned about policy—how we can make this country a better place for our children and our grandchildren. That stands in stark contrast to those opposite who are simply running a smear campaign.

The OECD report once again confirms how resilient our economy is, unlike those of most other developed economies. Our economic fundamentals are strong. We have solid growth, low unemployment and contained inflation. This country will grow faster than most other major developed economies this year and next. We are going to grow faster than the OECD as a whole.

The OECD report reaches this conclusion on resource investment in Australia:

Mining investments should continue to expand vigorously in 2013 in view of announced plans.

That was backed up today by the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics. They have issued an update of the value of committed projects. When we are talking about committed projects, we are talking about projects which are locked in. The value of such projects has increased by $7 billion over the six months to October—something the Minister for Resources and Energy and the government are very proud of—to reach a record high of $268 billion. When you look at all the projects on the drawing board, the value is a staggering $650 billion. This project pipeline has not been immune to what has occurred with the terms of trade and what has occurred with international commodity prices. But what this information is telling us is that the prospects for our resources sector are very bright.

We know the world out there is uncertain and that our prospects are not necessarily assured. But we also know that you need a plan for the future in this Asian century. That is why the government is very closely focused on productivity, skills and education in particular. That is why the bill the Prime Minister introduced into the House this morning is so important. We know that over the next five years we have to put in place the reforms to ensure we maximise the opportunities which will flow to this country in the Asian century. What a clear contrast that is to those opposite—out there every day playing the politics of smear and sleaze and with no policies at all. We have an opposition leader going the biff, trying to knock out everything and everyone. It is all about aggression and not about outcomes. We on this side of the House are absolutely focused.

Mr Pyne: On a point of order, Madam Speaker: the phrase the Treasurer used was deeply offensive to the Leader of the Opposition and I ask that it be withdrawn.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer, to assist the House, will withdraw.

Mr SWAN: I withdraw. A smear campaign from those opposite has simply backfired and they have been hit with mud, from head to toe.

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:20): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. The Treasurer has just spoken about the resilience of the Australian economy—

Mrs Mirabella interjecting

Ms Gillard: On a point of order, Madam Speaker: the member for Indi just made a grossly unparliamentary remark about the Deputy Prime Minister and ought to withdraw it.

The SPEAKER: The member for Indi will withdraw.

Mrs Mirabella: I withdraw.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! This is not amusing. It really is not. It is absolutely disgraceful that you treat your parliament with such contempt.

Mr PERRETT: The Treasurer has just spoken about the resilience of the Australian economy. How is this benefiting people in my electorate of Moreton?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:21): The OECD forecasts an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent in 2013. When you compare that to an unemployment rate across the OECD of eight per cent what that means is that, unlike just about every other developed economy, we have had tremendous success in supporting employment and in keeping the doors of small business open in this country. That means that people have jobs—something like 800,000 jobs created in this country during the period of this government despite all of the headwinds in the global economy, the most disturbing times in the global economy since the Great Depression. That means that families have not been hit with the skill destruction, the high levels of unemployment and the impacts on local communities that have occurred in other countries. That means a great deal to all of the people who live in Moreton. We have avoided the really high unemployment rates; we have avoided the really high rates of destruction of small businesses in particular. That means we are so much better placed to make investments for the future, particularly in education, and this means a great deal to the 50,000 people who are engaged in education and skills training in Moreton.

All of this is in stark contrast to those opposite. All they have is a dirt file—they have no file on education, no file on health and they certainly have no file on how to support an economy at a time of global uncertainty.