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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1750

Ms SCOTT (Lindsay) (16:12): I thank those opposite for putting up this intriguing MPI on the economy and jobs. With their record, I am scratching my head as to why they have even gone there. It is interesting how quickly they forget the carnage they left behind. I remind those opposite that it was under their government that we saw record waste. Let us not forget it was Labor that turned nearly $50 billion in the bank into a projected net debt of well over $200 billion. Let us not forget: it was under their watch that we saw the fastest deterioration in debt in dollar terms as a share of GDP in modern Australian history. It was under their plan that gross debt was projected to rise to $667 billion, with $123 billion of cumulative deficits. It is this Labor debt, this legacy of the Labor Party's amazing plan, that is now costing us around $10 billion a year in net interest payments. They are the ones who put the handbrake on the economy and they are the ones who promised there would be 'no carbon tax under a government I lead', yet they forged ahead and brought in the carbon tax and the mining tax. They talk about jobs at Qantas. What about the $106 million a year that the carbon tax is costing Qantas? It is this carbon tax that is hurting so many small businesses—412,000 jobs have been lost in small business over the past six years, according to what the Minister for Small Business said earlier.

As for the terrible twosome, my esteemed Western Sydney neighbours the honourable members for McMahon and Chifley, where were the jobs for Western Sydney? In my electorate of Lindsay two-thirds of my working population have to commute every single day for jobs—one-third to the city and one-third into greater Western Sydney. The people of Western Sydney time and time again have been forgotten by those opposite. For too long, successive Labor governments have shirked their responsibility to provide vital infrastructure to this key region.

Let us all remember that it was the former Labor Premier Bob Carr—who they then put in the Senate—who stated that Sydney was full. Such statements are most unhelpful to employment growth in my region. In fact, the last piece of major road infrastructure delivered to the people of Western Sydney was the M4, which was delivered under the Howard government, and I remind you all that it was delivered on time and under budget.

Maybe the member for McMahon missed this is well, but in December last year it was the O'Farrell coalition government that approved a major meatpacking factory processing unit in Erskine Park, which happens to be in his electorate. This facility within the Western Sydney Employment Area will process 2,000 tonnes of bulk-refrigerated red meat and poultry each week. Further, the meat will be graded, cut, repacked, labelled and distributed to the retail market by truck. Construction of the $134-million facility will employ 650 people while ongoing operation will create 400 jobs. Perhaps the shadow Treasurer should look to his own backyard.

Perhaps the shadow Treasurer also missed the announcement by the Treasurer today that the economy has grown by 0.8 per cent—more proof that the Abbott government is getting on with the job of building a stronger economy and more proof that the coalition has a plan to stimulate growth in this economy. The best thing the government can do to help the people of Western Sydney is abolish the carbon tax—a carbon tax the Labor Party just stand in the way of — (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! The time allocated for this discussion has expired.