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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 76


Mr SUKKAR (Deakin) (14:40): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister inform the House how the government will strengthen the Australian economy in 2015?

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left—and that includes the member for Griffith.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:40): I very much thank the member for Deakin for his question. I accept that there are economic headwinds overseas, but the Australian economy is stronger today than it was 18 months ago.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton has begun again. He will desist.

Mr ABBOTT: Our economy is stronger today than it was 18 months ago, and I am particularly pleased to say that the jobs market has strengthened. Our economy today is growing at an annual rate of 2.7 per cent, and this time last year, under the stewardship of members opposite, it had been growing at only 1.9 per cent.

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith will remove herself under 94(a).

Mr ABBOTT: Over the last year, over calendar 2014, more than 200,000 jobs were created, and that is something that every member on this side of the House is pleased to see. The rate of jobs growth in 2014, under this government, was three times what it was under members opposite in 2013. Exports are growing strongly, with volumes up by over eight per cent over the past year. Building approvals are at near record levels and over 10 per cent higher than a year ago. The registration of new companies is at the highest levels on record. This is what happens when you have a government that is open for business and is always looking for ways to say yes to new proposals to invest, employ, create and deliver prosperity for the Australian people.

I was delighted to be with the member for Deakin, just last week, to visit Timbermate, a business in his electorate—a great Melbourne business that is benefiting from lower electricity prices after the removal of the carbon tax. It is also a business that will benefit from the free trade agreements which will reduce tariffs of up to nine per cent on its products in China and elsewhere. This is a government which is not resting on its laurels or defending the past—it is a government which is looking to the future. Shortly there will be a new small business and jobs package, there will be a tax cut for small business, there will be a new package for families focusing on child care. This is a government which is getting on with what the people of Australia elected us to do.