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Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Page: 10176


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:06): Will the Acting Prime Minister outline the importance of keeping our economy strong while making sure we support those most in need?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:07): I thank the member for Blair for that question. Our economy still walks tall in the world and we are continuing to grow faster than every single major advanced economy. This is a remarkable achievement given the backdrop of what is occurring with growth in Europe and the global economy generally—and particularly given the turbulence in the June quarter.

We have secured 21 consecutive years of economic growth in this country. We do not seek that as an end in itself. The reason growth is important is that it supports jobs—800,000 additional jobs during our time in government. Growth can bring peace of mind for all of our citizens. It gives us the capacity not only to have more jobs and better jobs but to provide the services we want to provide to all of our people, most particularly when it comes to education and health. It means better incomes for working families and more opportunities for our kids, particularly in education and health care.

These are services which Australians ought to be able to rely on—good health care for their kids when they are unwell and first-class education services to enable their kids to get the best possible start in life. That is why I am so horrified to see the huge cuts currently being made in Queensland to these basic health and education services. These services are being ripped away in my home state by Campbell Newman and the LNP—and all along the way Mr Newman is being cheered on by the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer. Mr Newman said this about the shadow Treasurer and the Leader of the Opposition:

I talk regularly to Mr Abbott … He is very understanding, he and people like Joe Hockey have been incredibly supportive.

Then, last Friday morning, the shadow Treasurer, in talking about the cuts being made by Mr Newman—including almost 3,000 jobs in health—said:

Campbell Newman, all strength to his right arm, he's showing incredible courage …

What is courageous about sacking nurses? What is courageous about cutting education? What is courageous about cutting doctors?

What we are seeing here is a clear warning. We are getting a sneak preview of what an Abbott government would do to health and education nationally. Today we have had news from New South Wales of some of the biggest cuts in education in 20 years—all supported by the Leader of the Opposition. We know he was consulted by the New South Wales government about these cuts. Huge education cuts in New South Wales and the loss of 15,000 jobs in Queensland—this is what Liberals do. They take the axe to health and education. That is what they do. (Time expired)