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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6798


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister) (11:03): It is a great pleasure to join my colleague, the member for Aston—the unnaturally handsome, member for Aston—and to follow the unnaturally talented member for Dunkley in what was a very persuasive and powerful defence of the changes that he has undertaken in his Small Business and Treasury portfolio.

We are here today not to defend a very good budget but to inform you about why the budget that has just been announced by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer is in the best interests of the Australian people. This budget does two things. This budget, first and foremost, pays back Labor's debt—$667 billion of Labor's debt. That was the legacy of those opposite to the Australian people. Through measures in this budget, over the next 10 years we will reduce expenditure by nearly $300 billion.

The member for Rankin should know this, because he was part of a government that led to a record increase in government spending. We want to be part of a government that is much more responsible when it comes to budgetary measures. So we will save the Australian taxpayer up to $16 billion a year in the interest bill alone as a result of these measures—up to $16 billion a year. That is as much as a WestConnex project. That is as much as an East West Link. It is as much as an NDIS. It is as much as Gonski. That is just the interest bill we will save as a result of measures in this budget.

The second thing we will do as a result of this budget measures is lay a foundation for more jobs, higher growth and increased productivity. When it comes to those measures, first and foremost, there has been a record government expenditure on infrastructure: some $50 billion in new funding for infrastructure, which will in turn lead to up to $125 billion in state, private sector and federal government expenditure. This includes putting money on the table to incentivise the states to recycle their infrastructure. This is a record amount of government spending.

The third thing we will do is invest record amounts in education and innovation. The Medical Research Future Fund will be—and is already becoming, in terms of its ambitious proposal—the envy of the world: some $20 billion in funding for medical research, an area of natural expertise in Australia. We want to deregulate our university sector, a critical area, so that we can enable our universities to become the best in the world. We can do that by deregulation. We are giving apprentices, for the first time, significant government support just as if they were going to university. That is what we are doing in this budget in terms of education and innovation.

The fourth thing we are doing to boost growth, jobs and productivity is enhancing workforce participation. We are enhancing workforce participation by saying to people who are over the age of 50 and who have been on welfare for more than six months: we will give your employer up to $10,000 as an incentive to take you on board so that you no longer have to be on welfare. When it comes to women in the workforce, we want to encourage them to stay in the workforce after they have had children; a paid parental leave scheme is an important component of that. Australia is below other countries in the world when it comes to the number of women participating in our workforce. They are coming out of our universities in higher numbers than men but they are not represented in our workforce in the same numbers. Then, of course, there is our earn and learn strategy which is so important—because under the government of those opposite, under the Labor government, youth unemployment went to record levels. We are trying to break that nexus between welfare dependency and unemployment. What we are saying is: if you are a young person you must go out and find a job. We will help you do that. We will also give you training.

This is a vitally important budget. In my areas of deregulation and the G20; cutting red tape and consolidating the number of bodies, we are making great headway. I commend the measures in this budget to the House.