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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1723


Ms O'DWYER (HigginsParliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (20:56): This debate in the chamber tonight on the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2014-2015 and related bills is a very important one. It is a debate that needs to take the time of this parliament because of its significance, not only for the people of Australia today but also for the generations that will follow.

It is critically important to understand that the appropriations bill will, in the way that has been set forward, do much to help start the budget repair process that is so necessary for our country to be put on a sustainable financial path. Why is it necessary to be put on a sustainable financial path? One only needs to look to examples overseas to realise how critical this is. If one were to take, for instance, the example of Ireland where they had a net debt to GDP ratio of something like 11 per cent just before the global financial crisis; after the global financial crisis hit, in six short years that figure went up to beyond 30 to 40 per cent of net debt to GDP. It goes to show how quickly a budget situation can deteriorate. Currently, Australia's net debt to GDP is around about 15 per cent. But we cannot take for granted the position that we find ourselves in. It requires action, and it requires action today. This is why we have a focus on this Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2014-2015 and related bills, to ensure that we can put the Australian budget on a financial footing that is strong—and one that will reward future generations, not take from future generations. Would you like me to continue, Madam Speaker?

The SPEAKER: Indeed. You have a few more seconds.

Ms O'DWYER: I am very happy to continue on this subject because there is so much to say about the importance of having a sustainable budget. The budget is an issue that is going to come very much to the fore on Thursday of this week when the Intergenerational Report is delivered to the parliament—