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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3261

Economy


Ms LANDRY (CapricorniaChief Nationals Whip) (14:10): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on how the government is building a stronger economy to guarantee the essential services upon which Australians rely? Is the Prime Minister aware of any alternative approaches?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:11): I thank the honourable member for her question. The honourable member, like all honourable members on our side, recognises that the foundation of guaranteeing essential services—building the infrastructure that we need, ensuring that we have record funding for schools, hospitals and Medicare—all depends on a strong economy that delivers more and better jobs for Australians, an economy where business has the confidence to invest and an economy that enables us to provide tax relief to support hardworking Australians and their families and take some of that cost-of-living pressure off Australian households.

Every element of our responsible budget that the Treasurer will deliver tonight is built on the foundation of a strong economy. So, it isn't a choice between having a strong economy and policies to spend more on essential services like health and education, on defence and on national security. The reality is that you can't do one without the other. That is why we are able to invest more on congestion-busting infrastructure around the country: on life-saving medicines like Spinraza, a groundbreaking treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, or Opdivo, a treatment for lung cancer and renal cell cancer—one life-saving drug after another going onto the PBS. We can afford to do that because we have a stronger economy.

And we're seeing record jobs growth—over 1,000 a day—and last calendar year the highest jobs growth, 415,000, in any calendar year in our history. That demonstrates the strength of our economy. It's part of our plan to grow the economy with policies that back business to create jobs; build the economic infrastructure that we need; put downward pressure on the cost of electricity so that household power bills are as low as they can be; provide more opportunities for our farmers, manufacturers and exporters by securing new trade deals; and help younger Australians into work through our PaTH jobs program. Every element of that would be put at risk by a Labor government. The Labor Party does not have one policy that would create one job or deliver one additional dollar of investment. We saw in the budget in-reply of the Leader of the Opposition last year a pledge to pull out of the TPP. This was when he was urging me to stop being deluded in trying to get the TPP agreed to. Well, that agreement stands for free trade, stands for jobs and stands for investment. That's how we're creating jobs, and they're the thousands of jobs that a Labor government would threaten.