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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2207

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (19:51): I rise to bring this debate on Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2011-12 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2011-12 to a close. I thank those members who have made a contribution. The additional estimates bill seeks appropriation authority from the parliament for the additional expenditure of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in order to meet requirements that have arisen since the last budget. The total additional appropriation being sought for additional estimates bills 3 and 4 this year is a little over $3.1 billion.

In concluding that debate, I would like to make a couple of points in response to the comments made by the member for Goldstein, who I believe has overlooked the full impact of the global financial crisis. Again he has neglected to mention the 200,000 jobs saved by the government's swift action. He has yet again gone on about the size of government only to forget to mention that we have kept tax as a percentage of GDP below the levels we inherited from when the member for Goldstein was in government—this from the shadow finance spokesperson who has effectively squibbed on their commitment to return the budget to surplus. We know why: the opposition need to find $70 billion in savings. So before the main chamber gets a lecture on fiscal policy we think the opposition need to get their own house in order.

In turning to the bills before the chamber, there are a number of measures relating to the delivery of the government's commitments from the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook update I would like to raise. There is $1.3 billion in appropriation across several agencies to support the government's commitment to a clean energy future for Australia, including $1 billion in cash payments to highly emissions-intensive coal fired power stations to assist their transition to a carbon price. There is $106 million to complete remaining inspections and rectification services under the home insulation safety plan and $66 million for the establishment of the Clean Energy Regulator, which will administer the carbon pricing mechanism. The government is providing $30 million for official development assistance to combat the effects of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa and $10 million to implement the International Mining for Development Centre, which will provide scholarships through the Australian Mining Awards Program and build administrative capacity in Africa. We have provided $24 million in assistance to businesses affected by the temporary suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia. The government is providing $63 million to assist the Tasmanian forestry industry transition to a more sustainable and diversified industry and $10 million to strengthen incentives for parents to have their children immunised.

As these measures make clear, the government are getting on with the task of delivering on our commitments. In conclusion, the bills support the government's budget and MYEFO initiatives and deserve widespread support.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): The question is that the amendment be agreed to.

Question negatived.

Original question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.