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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 24


Senator HURLEY (2:06 PM) —My question is to the Minister representing the Treasurer, Senator Conroy. Can the minister update the Senate on the state of the Commonwealth’s taxation receipts in light of the evolving economic environment?


Senator CONROY (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) —I thank Senator Hurley for her question. As the Prime Minister outlined yesterday, we are facing almost unprecedented global economic circumstances. The IMF has cut its forecast for global growth three times in the last four months and is now forecasting a deep global recession. The weight of the global recession is bearing down on the Australian economy. As the Prime Minister and Treasurer have outlined, the global recession—and, in particular, the significant fall in China’s economic growth—has resulted in a $115 billion fall in Australian tax receipts to the government. In and of itself, the halving of China’s growth rates—forecast a fall to just 6.7 per cent in calendar year 2009—is expected to result in a $15 billion loss to the Australian economy over the 2009-10 period. The economic outlook for the global economy has deteriorated sharply since MYEFO. Treasury now advises a further $75 billion collapse in revenue, meaning a total of $115 billion collapse in revenue over the forward estimates. This will have a direct impact on our budget and will lead to a temporary budget deficit. The IMF has warned— (Time expired)


Senator HURLEY —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister outline how the Rudd government is responding to the global recession to support growth and jobs in the economy?


Senator CONROY (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) —The government has also been up-front in saying that there is no silver bullet in dealing with this global challenge, but in response to this crisis the Rudd government has been clear that it will act decisively to support growth and jobs in the period ahead. Today’s $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan will provide immediate support for jobs and growth. This plan delivers a fiscal stimulus package of about two per cent of GDP in calendar year 2009 and it follows the government’s earlier actions in a range of other areas, including the $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy package announced last October.


Senator HURLEY —Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister outline how important this package will be to support jobs and growth in the Australian economy?


Senator CONROY (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) —The package announced today will help support and sustain up to 90,000 jobs over the next two years. Key elements of the package announced today include $28.8 billion in government investments in schools, housing and energy efficiency and $12.7 billion in payments to low- and middle-income Australians, and the tax bonus for working Australians provides an immediate cash benefit of up to $950 to 8.7 million Australians on top of the tax cuts that will commence from 1 July 2009. The Nation Building and Jobs Plan— (Time expired)