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Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Page: 5286


Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (14:36): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on the OECD Economic Outlook, released overnight, and what does this say about the government's economic management?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:36): I thank the member for Hindmarsh for his question, because the OECD Economic Outlook, which was released overnight, puts Australia up in lights as the standout developed economy in the global economy. It shows Australia is the standout developed economy if you look at this report. The OECD basically says that the Australian economy is going to grow faster than any other major developed economy, not only this year but next year as well. We have heard nothing positive from the opposition about this today. The Leader of the Opposition has been out and talked about everything that could be negative but nothing that is positive for Australia. This report is a very positive report on the strength of the Australian economy. Our unemployment is low, we have very good public finances, we have a strong investment pipeline and we are growing substantially faster than most other developed OECD economies.

We are beginning to see why the rest of the world is waking up to the pro-growth, pro-jobs approach of this government. You can see it written all the way through the OECD report. The correct decision that this government took to support demand, to support Australian employment, to support small business at the height of the global financial crisis is one of the reasons Australia is now so strong compared to other developed economies. If other developed economies had followed our course, they would be in far better shape today. We have a pro-growth, pro-jobs approach which supports all of our people. We know that the opposition at the height of the global financial crisis and the global recession opposed all of those measures which would have sent unemployment through the roof and seen the closure of tens of thousands of small businesses in this country.

It is pleasing to see such a strong endorsement from the OECD and, in particular, such a strong endorsement from the OECD which supports coming back to surplus. This is what the OECD has to say:

… restoring fiscal leeway while macroeconomic conditions are still favourable, and the terms of trade high, is welcome.

Too right it is welcome. This is the correct decision for Australia; to support employment, to support growth and to give maximum flexibility to the Reserve Bank to take decisions on interest rates should they decide to do so. It gives us the capacity to put new incentives in the tax system to support small business in terms of loss carryback and to put in place the instant asset write-off which is also going to support investment in small business. There will be 2.7 million businesses eligible to use the instant asset write-off. This is very important for future investment.

We on this side of the House understand what must be done to manage our economy. We understand what has to be done to bring the budget back to surplus, unlike those opposite. (Time expired)