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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9965

Economy


Mr HOGAN (Page) (14:39): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on how the government is working with all parts of the economy to boost growth and create jobs?


Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:39): I thank the honourable member for Page for his question and recognise the fact that if we are going to be part of the heavy lifting associated with improving job creation and lifting economic growth then our budget has helped to do that. Contained in our budget is the biggest new infrastructure program in Australia's history. We are building the equivalent of eight new Snowy Mountains Schemes over the next six years by facilitating $125 billion of new productive infrastructure, including $5.6 billion on the Pacific Highway in the member's electorate of Page. The fundamental point about all of this is that the Labor Party is opposing all this. The Labor Party is opposing infrastructure spending. It is opposing all of our initiatives that are about building a stronger economy, starting with the Asset Recycling Fund, which is a hugely important initiative. As a way of encouraging Australian states to further engage in the construction of new productive infrastructure, we have laid down a $5 billion program, an incentive payment for the states to go out there and sell their state assets and to recycle the money into new productive assets, to build new assets—road, rail—that are productive for their economies. The reason we are doing this is that if we do not closely manage the transition from a mining-construction economy over the last few years to a mining-production economy that needs to have much broader growth, then we will end up with higher unemployment, as Labor foreshadowed, and we will end up with a less productive economy.

The Asset Recycling Fund is absolutely essential, and this Labor Party is opposing that fund. Do you know what is interesting? Prime Minister, you will be interested in this.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler.

Mr HOCKEY: At a meeting of the state treasurers in Cairns on Friday, the two states that wanted to sign up first are Labor states—South Australia and the ACT. The Treasurer of South Australia could not get his pen on the table fast enough. He wanted to sign up to the deal, and he wanted to make it retrospective—he wanted to cover all the other things as well. And of course the Treasurer of the ACT, who is a member of the Labor Party, is the same—he wants to be there signing.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield.

Mr HOCKEY: So you have the two Labor states—the only two Labor states—elbowing each other out of the way to come and sign a deal that their federal colleagues are blocking. We are about jobs. Federal Labor is the enemy of jobs.