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Wednesday, 3 June 2015
Page: 5699


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (14:10): That is a hard act to follow, I must say. My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on the March quarter national accounts figures released today? Why do these figures underscore the need for budget measures that will boost growth and create jobs?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:10): I thank the chair of the House economics committee for that question about the national accounts. He is asking about the serious matters; and it does matter because the Australian economy had one of the fastest-growing quarters in the world in the first quarter of this year. We were faster than any other G7 nation and one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world in the first three months of this year. That is good news, isn't it?

Government members: Yes!

Mr HOCKEY: Yes, that is right. And we have helped to make it that way. We put in place an economic plan that has helped to give Australians the opportunity to get ahead. Do you know how we have done that? We have implemented a range of measures, such as: removing the carbon tax, removing the mining tax, and reducing the overall tax burden on Australians compared to what they would have had under Labor. We have seen job creation at nearly four times the speed as that of the Labor Party in their last year in office. In the first three months of this year, over 82,000 new jobs were created in Australia.

As the Prime Minister pointed out, one of the most impressive parts of the national accounts is that we have seen significant growth in services exports. I have stood here on numerous occasions and talked about how the services sector is 70 per cent of the Australian economy but only 17 per cent of our exports. Under our economic plan, we are lifting the services sector by giving them new free trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan. In our budget we are removing the burdens on small business, giving them the opportunity to invest in new equipment, to go out there and have a go. Those small businesses are going to be the innovators and the job creators of the 21st century Australian economy—

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith is warned.

Mr HOCKEY: the one that is coping with a massive transition from a mining construction phase into a production phase. And, yes, we are exporting wealth but, importantly, this is broad growth. We have dwelling construction kicking in to meet the demand that is coming out of the market—particularly in Sydney, but also Melbourne.

We have record effort from the Australian people in wanting to have a go—certainly, in the wake of this budget. Because these figures do not even take into account the budget we delivered in May. They are before the budget. And, in that three months—despite the global headwinds, despite what is happening overseas, particularly in commodity prices—the Australian economy grew at 0.9 of one per cent, which is a strong figure. The momentum is there in the Australian economy. The best friend of the Australian economy is the coalition government.