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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 133


Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (14:21): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer please update the House on the progress in arresting the deficit and debt burden on Australian taxpayers?

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:22): I thank the member for Petrie for his question and commend him on his re-election to this House. It was a stunning victory by the member for Petrie, who stood on the record of his contact with and support for constituents but also on the proven economic management of this government, and he was returned to ensure that he could continue to support that proven economic management of the coalition government.

We live in very uncertain economic times; we understand that. But, despite that, Australia continues to grow at one of the highest rates and real times of the advanced world. On top of that, we have just completed 25 years of consecutive economic growth. But we cannot take that for granted going forward. It is the product of some 30 years of economic reform—apart from six years when those opposite occupied these benches. On top of that, the issue we must deal with right now is ensuring that we increase our resilience in the face of any potential storm or threat. The two things we must do to achieve that are: we must arrest the debt that continues to grow, which we inherited from those opposite, and we must ensure resilience, strength and confidence in our banking and financial system, because those things underpin the prosperity of every business, every household and every government in this country.

We inherited a debt, as we know, of some $240 billion, and through the measures taken on this side of the House over many budgets the projected debt was reduced by $50 billion.

An opposition member: What is it now?

Mr MORRISON: I am asked what it is now. Today it is $430 billion. Today our debt grows by $6 billion every month, because we have been through a program of seeking to arrest the debt. But we have had no support from those who sit opposite, who sought to sabotage the budget over the last three years. Today they have an opportunity to turn that around. Today I brought into this House a bill of $6.1 billion in savings on expenditure—not higher taxes; savings on expenditure. Every single dollar of those savings, the shadow Treasurer and the former finance minister built into the costings that they took to the last election. If that bill passes this place it will save, over the next 10 years, $30 billion in debt.

Those opposite have gone silent. They know they have to ask a question that has been put to them in this House, in this bill, which says: $6.1 billion is the start of the conversation that this parliament needs to have. We have $40 billion in savings and revenue measures that will fix the budget. They need to support them. (Time expired)