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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 6977


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:04): My question is for the Acting Prime Minister. Will the Acting Prime Minister outline the importance of spreading the benefits of a strong economy to ordinary Australians and their families?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:04): I thank the member for Blair for that question because the Australian economy walks tall in the world, and that is something that everybody on this side of the House is very proud of. The national accounts show that the economy grew by 4.3 per cent throughout the year, faster than every other major advanced economy. Something like 800,000 jobs have been created since the government came to office, during a period in which we have seen the loss of 27 million jobs worldwide. The RBA has cut the cash rate to 3.5 per cent, which is lower than at any stage under the previous government. This means that someone with a mortgage of $300,000 is saving something like $4,000 a year in repayments compared to when those opposite left office. So what we have is impressive growth, low unemployment, record investment, contained inflation, low interest rates and strong public finances.

We do understand that not everybody is the beneficiary, necessarily, of the mining boom, and that there are many people out there who are not in the fast lane of the economy. That is why we are so determined to spread the benefits of the mining boom right around our economy. That is why tomorrow 1.3 million families will begin to receive the benefits of the Schoolkids Bonus. That is $409 for primary school students and $818 for high school students. This is vital money to assist parents with the cost of education. We do believe on this side of the House that parents really deserve that additional assistance with the cost of education. It is going to be there when they really need it—at the start of the year and in the middle of the year. So this will give more families more support. It is a very big investment in education.

Of course those opposite voted against the Schoolkids Bonus. They do not think that mums and dads of Australia deserve this vital cost-of-living relief. They do not trust the parents of Australia to do the right thing by their kids. They would rather give Gina Rinehart control of Fairfax than trust hardworking Australians with the cost of going to school.

Mr Simpkins interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! The member for Cowan is warned.