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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11369


Mr VAN MANEN (FordeGovernment Whip) (14:21): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister outline to the House how the government is acting to build a stronger economy and why this is important to guarantee the essential services Australians rely on? And will the Prime Minister outline the risks to our strong economy?

Mr MORRISON (CookPrime Minister) (14:21): I thank the member for Forde for his question. He understands, like everyone on this side of the House, that it is a strong economy that is necessary to deliver the essential services that Australians rely on. That's how it actually occurs. A strong economy is not something you put on the shelf and admire from a distance as some sort of achievement. It is a strong economy that delivers for Medicare. It's a strong economy that delivers for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It's a strong economy that has enabled this government to increase hospitals funding by 50 per cent since 2012-13. It is a strong economy—that is what guarantees the services, the infrastructure and the supports that Australians rely on from their governments at both the Commonwealth and the state level.

Under our economic management of the last five years, the economy is stronger, and, under our plans for the future, it will be stronger. Under our economic management, unemployment has fallen to five per cent. There are 50,000 fewer people unemployed today than there were at the last election, as we promised. We have had record jobs growth and, in particular, the strongest growth in youth employment in Australia's economic history, with more than 100,000 young people getting a job in the previous 12 months to year ending 30 June. That is 1.2 million Australians who have gotten a job since we were first elected. And on top of that, female participation in the workforce is at record highs. The gender pay gap has been reduced under the policies of our government by driving the economy forward.

We have companies doing better in this country as a result of the environment we on this side put in place for them to invest and employ people in, and we've got a budget coming back into balance in 2019-20—a budget that only this government could have been able to deliver following the financial wreckage of those opposite and the wreckage they left us with when they were last in government. That has enabled us to deliver the health services, the roads, the water infrastructure and the support for our farmers to respond to the drought in our rural and regional communities, to ensure we have been able to support our veterans and support the affordable medicines. We have the money in the budget because we are running a stronger economy, and it is no accident because our policies have been about lower taxes for businesses and households—taxes and relief that have been delivered and legislated by our government. Infrastructure is being built, delivered and rolled out over the next 10 years, as well—$77 billion worth—ensuring that we're diversifying our economy and opening up new markets.

But the sort of revolution the leader of the Labor Party wants to bring about will change everything about our economy and how it is managed. There'll be higher taxes and big change for our economy if the Labor leader is elected—big change that Australia can't afford.