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Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Page: 13448

Economy


Mr SYMON (Deakin) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the government's policy to build a stronger future for Australia?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:04): I thank the member for Deakin for his question and for raising in this parliament issues that matter to the Australian people. Clearly we already know from the tactics of the opposition that they will not today raise issues that matter to the Australian people. They will not today raise questions about jobs for Australians. They will not raise questions about health. They will not raise questions about education—and the list goes on. I believe Australians are sick of the Leader of the Opposition and his sleaze and smear tactics. They want to see this parliament use its time properly for the issues that matter in their lives. I thank the member for Deakin for a question that matters to the lives of Australians.

We as a government have a laser focus on jobs, because there is nothing more important to the future of Australians than knowing that they can get jobs, that they can hold secure jobs, that they can have the prospect of a better job and that their sons and daughters can look forward to growing up to be full participants in an economy that can offer them the benefits of work. We have the highest number of Australians in paid employment ever. This has taken hard work. It is taking hard work to keep modernising our economy so we can ensure that that ability to offer Australians jobs continues in the future. We are proud that there are 800,000 more jobs around than there were five years ago. We are proud of what we have done to support the manufacturing sector in difficult times. Of course, we are getting on with creating the jobs of the future, including through the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

With a strong and resilient economy we can offer Australians benefits. We are proud we have moved up three places to be in the top dozen largest economies by size in the world. We want to keep moving up those rankings. That is why we are so focused on delivering on our plans for the nation's future during this Asian century of growth and change. It is why we are so focused on delivering on our plans for the future of education, because you cannot win the economic race of the future unless you can win the education race. With the benefits of a strong economy, we can provide people with new benefits, new prosperity to share. I am proud that we are working hard to improve dental health, including in partnership with the states, so that children in low- and middle-income families can benefit. I am proud that we are able to direct that care to where it is needed the most—to children in low- and middle-income families. These are the kinds of things you can do if you have a purpose, if you have a plan and if you work hard on policies for the nation's future.