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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 623

Economy


Senator BUSHBY (TasmaniaChief Government Whip in the Senate) (14:03): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. Can the minister update the Senate on how the Australian economy has been performing in comparison to other advanced economies?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:03): I thank Senator Bushby for that question. The Australian economy is growing faster than all but one of the G7 economies, at twice the rate of the US and Canada and at well above the OECD average. We are, right now, in our 26th year of continuous growth. On Friday Australian time, the IMF released its regular review of the performance of the Australian economy. Their assessment is very compelling indeed. The IMF points out that from mid-2015 the Australian recovery advanced with a marked pickup in activity. The report points out:

… Australia’s robust economic growth and low unemployment during the current terms-of-trade adjustment reflect the resilience of the economy and strong policy frameworks.

But there is more. It says the IMF directors:

… supported the government’s plans to balance its budget over four years and make its expenditure composition more growth-friendly.

And, of course, we continue to work with the Senate to give effect to our efforts to balance the budget. The report also observed that front loading the consolidation path is appropriate and prudent under the current circumstances. Finally, the report says:

Directors welcomed the government’s structural reform agenda to boost productivity through fostering innovation and strengthening competition, especially in the services sector. They commended the authorities for their commitment to an open economy in trade, foreign investment, and immigration.

This is a massive endorsement by the International Monetary Fund for the national economic plan of the Turnbull government—our plan for jobs and growth that we took to the last election. We look forward to the Senate working with the Turnbull government to give effect to our plan for jobs and growth, so that Australians have the best possible opportunity to get ahead.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Bushby, a supplementary question.



Senator BUSHBY (TasmaniaChief Government Whip in the Senate) (14:05): Minister, how will the government continue to strengthen the economy and create jobs?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:05): I thank Senator Bushby for that supplementary question. The Turnbull government has a comprehensive national economic plan, which involves making our tax system more growth friendly. The next instalment is our Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan, which seeks to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for all businesses. That is because we understand that in order to ensure that we can create as many jobs as possible in this economy we need businesses across Australia to be as successful and as profitable as possible, so they can hire more Australians and pay them better wages over time. Every respected economist in the world will tell you that a more competitive business tax rate will help you to boost investment and boost productivity, and will help more successful businesses across Australia to hire more Australians. The Labor Party does not get this. The Labor Party seems to think that jobs grow on trees. No, jobs do not grow on trees; jobs are created by hardworking businesses across Australia. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Bushby, a final supplementary question.



Senator BUSHBY (TasmaniaChief Government Whip in the Senate) (14:06): Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches, and what would their impact be on economic growth and jobs?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:07): Sadly, I am aware. Sadly, there is an alternative approach that is promoted by the Labor Party. Under Mr Shorten's leadership, the Labor Party has become the most left-wing Labor Party in the history of the Commonwealth. The Labor Party in Australia today stands for higher taxes, higher energy prices, less trade and more red tape. The Labor Party went to the last election promising more than $100 billion in additional taxes. Senator Bushby asked me about what the implication would be. The implication of higher taxes, higher energy prices, less reliable energy supply, less trade and, indeed, more red tape is less investment and fewer jobs. If you make it harder for business to be successful, which is the Labor Party policy approach, business will be able to employ fewer Australians, which means that unemployment would go up. (Time expired)