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Thursday, 26 June 2008
Page: 3619

Senator McLUCAS (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) (7:13 PM) —I am pleased to bring the second reading debate on Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2008-2009 and the cognate bills to a close. The government’s first budget delivers on election commitments to ease pressures on working families by helping them to deal with rising costs of living. It outlines farsighted steps to address the long-term challenges for Australia in education and skills, infrastructure, health and climate change. We are keeping our election promise to reduce inflationary government spending by introducing an economically responsible budget. We are delivering a strong surplus of 1.8 per cent of GDP in 2008-09 to put downward pressure on inflation and to help build a strong economy in the face of difficult global financial conditions.

By honouring our election promises, we have kept faith with the Australian people. In doing so, we are helping to restore trust and confidence in Australia’s political processes and institutions. As the Treasurer explained on budget night, we have delivered a coherent package of reforms based on four principles: delivering for working families, meeting our commitments, investing in the future and beginning the new era of economic responsibility.

In conclusion, this is a budget for working families. We are keeping our election promises to reduce inflationary government spending while providing tax cuts for working Australians hit hard by rising living costs. We have trimmed the fat from the budget, and we will use the savings to invest for the future—tackling long-term challenges like climate change, infrastructure bottlenecks and skills shortages. This is the end of short-term irresponsible spending and the beginning of long-term responsible investment. The Rudd Labor government has delivered a tight, well-managed budget that focuses on practical solutions to immediate problems and long-term planning and investment for future challenges. I commend the bills to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bills read a second time.