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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6479

Dr EMERSON (Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy, Minister Assisting the Finance Minister on Deregulation and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs) (7:11 PM) —I think I did indicate that the extra funding of $55 million will be earmarked for innovation, including $10 million in new funding. It is out of a total of $401 million in retargeted TCF support. I will just finish up because I do want to give the shadow minister ample opportunity to ask other questions. If you could just put together ingredients and create a magic pudding of more funds I am sure the previous government would have done that. It was a very heavy-spending government, with five per cent real expenditure growth in its last year—boom expenditure in a booming economy because of the China boom. This government has had to act responsibly to bring down a budget that provides not only stimulus in the short term, through cash payments and short-term investments in infrastructure followed by long-term investments in infrastructure, but a path of returning the budget to surplus over time.

The shadow minister’s pleas for extra funding in this area are noted. He should have a talk to the opposition leader about some consistency. I am reminded that former Senator Reg Withers said that consistency is the sign of a small mind, so I will not ever accuse the opposition of being consistent.