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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3512


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (14:44): My question is to the Assistant Treasurer. Will the minister update the House—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! When I have some quiet, the member for Makin will commence his answer again.

Mr ZAPPIA: Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is to the Assistant Treasurer. Will the minister update the House on the government's responsible plan to build a stronger economy in this budget? What impact would more extreme savings measures have and why is it important to be transparent about those measures?

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (14:45): I thank the member for Makin for his question. The government has a responsible plan to build a stronger economy and to support jobs and growth. A responsible plan means that your plan must be fully funded and fully costed. That is why the budget that the Treasurer handed down earlier in the week sets out and locks in a fully funded 10-year plan to deliver on big initiatives, big nation-building initiatives, that will make our economy stronger and our society smarter and fairer—initiatives like DisabilityCare and our Plan for School Improvement.

To fund these initiatives we have had to make some choices and we have had to deliver $43 billion worth of responsible savings measures. Tonight the Leader of the Opposition will have his opportunity to show us the sorts of choices that he is prepared to make, to lay his plans out on the table so the Australian people can see what it is he would do if he were the Prime Minister. When he does that, to make sure that they are responsible plans they should be fully funded and they should be fully costed. Fully costed does not mean going off and getting some dodgy costings from an accounting firm of the sort that we saw them use at the last election. We have set up the Parliamentary Budget Office. They should be properly costed in a proper way.

We saw today, however, a bit of a sneak preview of the approach that the opposition will take, when they came into this place and voted against a bill to crack down on tax avoidance—new measures to crack down on profit shifting and tax avoidance. If there is a rort, a loophole or a rip-off, they are in there to protect it. That is what they did today: they came in to protect it.

When it comes to the challenge of trying to put in place a responsible budget, we know that they will not crack down on the tax avoiders. So how will they fill the big black hole that has been generated by all of the unfunded commitments they have been making? The shadow Assistant Treasurer gave us a clue today when he was asked. He said, 'Cuts will have to be made.' That comes on the back of what the Leader of the Opposition had to say just a month ago, when he said, 'Some of the things we do will hurt.' The question is: who will they hurt? They will hurt families. They will hurt pensioners. We will see cuts to payments, cuts to pensions—cuts to the bone. That is what we will see from the opposition.

The Leader of the Opposition needs to make sure that he takes the opportunity tonight to put his plans on the table, to show people what it is he intends to do, so that they have the choice between a government that has fully funded commitments and will deliver big reforms like DisabilityCare and a Plan for School Improvement or an opposition whose only plan is to make savage cuts, cuts to the bone. (Time expired)