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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4008


Ms BURKE (ChisholmDeputy Speaker) (14:11): My question is to the Treasurer. How is the government getting the big reforms done to support our economy and jobs?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:11): I thank the member for Chisholm for that very important question. We on this side of the House have made jobs our No. 1 priority from day one. The heart and soul of any Labor government is making jobs the No. 1 priority. It is why we acted to support jobs in the face of the global financial crisis and the global recession and it is why we avoided recession in this country: to save hundreds of thousands of jobs in Australia, to save people from the unemployment scrap heap and, importantly, to keep open the doors of small business. Since we came to office there are an extra 700,000 jobs in this country. Just think about this for a minute: unemployment in Australia is at 5.2 percent—there is barely a developed economy in the world that can say that unemployment is at that level. It is at twice that level right throughout Europe and is massively higher in the United States.

If those opposite had had their way Australia would have gone into recession, unemployment would be far higher and we would have seen business closures. We on this side of the House understand the importance of jobs and we understand the importance of the changes that are underway in the global economy—the movement in global economic power from West to East, which is bringing to this country a huge investment pipeline, particularly in resources. We on this side of the House will make sure that the opportunities from that investment pipeline are spread right across our country. That is why we are putting in place the big economic reforms to ensure prosperity for the future. That is why we on this side of the House want to cut company tax by one per cent and those opposite want to check it out by 1½ per cent. That is why we on this side of the House are supporting a significant tax break for 2.7 million small businesses through the $6,500 instant asset write-off and, in particular, supporting the boost to superannuation savings, particularly for young people in our community. If you are a young worker on average wages you will get an extra $100,000 when you retire because of these arrangements. There is a very clear choice, when it comes to jobs in this country, between a government that will go into bat for workers and small business and a wrecking-ball opposition who have a $70 billion crater in their bottom line.