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Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Page: 214

Economy


Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. How is the government delivering on its commitments to deliver a strong and prosperous economy and a safe and secure Australia?


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:04): I thank the member for Brisbane for her question. I can point out to her and the House that, while the government has only been in office for five months, a good start has been made. We inherited from the former government unemployment that had gone up by 200,000 over six years. We inherited from the former government a situation where their loss of control of the borders had led to more than 50,000 illegal arrivals by boat. And of course, under the former government, debt was skyrocketing towards $667 billion.

I can report to the member for Brisbane that the new government is stopping the boats. We are fixing the budget. And we are building a future where every Australian can expect a fair go and every Australian will be encouraged to have a go. That is the kind of future that we are building. We have sensible savings before the Senate—$15 billion worth of savings for which we sought a mandate at the election, including $5 billion worth of savings for which Labor sought a mandate at the election, so you would think, would you not, that members opposite would facilitate the passage of those savings. We have the carbon tax repeal legislation, the mining tax repeal legislation and the Australian Building and Construction Commission restoration legislation similarly before the Senate. All of these things were put before the people at the election, and we have a mandate for them.

As part of being open for business, the Minister for the Environment has given approval to new projects worth a potential $400 billion, and I thank the minister for his work. As part of being open for business, the Minister for Trade has successfully negotiated a free trade agreement with Korea, which will be very good news for Australian agriculture as well as being good news for Australian consumers.

We said we would stop the boats, and it has now been 55 days without an illegal boat arrival on our shores. That gives the Australian people great confidence that border security can be re-established. But part of building a safe and secure Australia is closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous outcomes. As I reported to the House today, there is still a long way to go but great progress has been made. I would like to be an infrastructure Prime Minister but I would also like to be known as the Prime Minister for Indigenous affairs.