Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 1765


Mr MITCHELL (McEwen) (14:13): Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. How has the government supported Australian jobs and delivered economic growth? How will it keep delivering for working people into the future?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:13): I thank the member for McEwen for that very important question. The reason so many of us on this side of the House went into public life in the first place is because we respect the dignity of work. We understand the importance of jobs—not just the number of jobs but the quality of jobs, the pay and working conditions that go with jobs and how important they are to the peace of mind of working families right around this country.

We understood at the height of the global financial crisis and the global recession how important policies were to support economic growth and jobs. That is why in this country over the past four years 700,000-plus jobs have been created whilst around the world unemployment is at eight per cent and nine per cent. So the creation of jobs and support for economic growth go right to the core of this government's economic agenda. We now have low unemployment. We have a huge pipeline of investment. Unemployment is at 5.1 per cent. We have an economy which has grown by seven per cent since the start of the global financial crisis, whereas around the world economies have not got back to where they were. The legacy of that for them is double-digit unemployment, with whole sections of communities simply destroyed by massive unemployment and business closures.

On this side of the House, we understand that jobs must be our No.1 priority to support economic growth and to meet the challenges which are posed by growth in our region. We also understand that there are patchwork areas of our economy where people are doing it tough. That is why we must put in place a range of policies which will support growth right across our region, particularly in small business. That is why we want to use the proceeds of the minerals resource rent tax to give a very big tax cut to 2.7 million small businesses right across our country to keep their doors open and to support employment—it is simply stunning that those opposite are opposing that tax cut for small business. It is why we want to invest in skills—$3 billion. It is why we are investing in infrastructure, particularly the NBN. It is why we are putting a price on carbon. Fundamentally, it is why we want to bring the budget back into surplus in 2012-13. Strict fiscal policy is the key to supporting employment.

I heard the Leader of the Opposition say that he was committed to reducing expenditure. He has a $70 billion hole in his budget bottom line and he had the hide before question time to go before the journalists of Australia and somehow pretend that he was going to reduce public expenditure—with a $70 billion hole in his budget bottom line. We are committed to jobs. We are committed to strict fiscal management. We are committed to investing in the future.