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Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Page: 3532


Mr VAN MANEN (FordeChief Government Whip) (11:59): I don't want to steal too much of the minister's thunder for his comments later on, but I'd like to remind the shadow minister that it's actually those opposite that are sitting in the grandstand. It's actually the coalition government that is on the field and doing stuff.

One of the reasons we have seen some sluggish economic activity in the first half of this year I put purely down to the fact that people were worried witless that those opposite were going to slug the economy with $387 billion of new taxes if they got elected. No wonder people kept their hands in their pockets. What we have seen since is a return to the confidence that we know our economy has. They know they have got a coalition government in power that is getting on with the job of delivering for the Australian people.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr VAN MANEN: I love the interjections from those opposite. It's hilarious. They're just spectators. We are actually doing the job. We're the ones that have delivered the tax cuts not only for individual Australians early in July, but also for our small business community. Why can we do those things? We can do those things because of the prudent budget management that the minister outlined in his opening remarks.

We have seen over the past six years that diligence. We are now in a position this financial year where we are returning the budget to surplus. The member opposite asked in his contribution what the value of that is. The value is that we can start to pay down some of the debt and reduce some of the interest bill. It shows that, through the prudent, sensible economic management of this government over the past six years, we've been able to provide the services that the Australian people need. I'm very proud of that.

What we can also say as a part of that is that we've done that while all the time reducing taxes. We are delivering record funding to schools in my electorate of Forde. We are delivering record investment in health and hospitals, with over 2,000 new life-changing medicines on the PBS. We are delivering a record $100 billion pipeline of infrastructure investment right around this country. Everywhere we look, we see the opportunities being created as a result of prudent budget management by this government. That prudent budget management is important, because it gives business the confidence to invest. What that does is create employment opportunities for Australians. We've seen that over the past six years, with more than 100,000 young Australians aged between 15 and 24 finding jobs—the largest number in Australian history.

It is these day-to-day practical outcomes that we see achieved by being a prudent and responsible government that give our business sector—particularly small to medium businesses, which are the primary employers in my electorate of Forde—a reason to employ people. In addition to that, it provides the funding for our VET training package and our skills training package. It provides the funding to allow business to write off assets that they purchased of $30,000 or less instantly. That reduces the cost of running your business, because you're not having to carry those assets on a depreciation schedule. It also means there is an incentive to more regularly, as necessary, update your plant and equipment, and those purchases flow through to economic activity and economic benefit.

There are so many ways we have shown our prudent economic management over the past six years. The budget is returning to surplus as a result of that confidence that is engendered in the economy. But it's important that as we move to surplus, and we start to reduce that debt and that burden on our economy, that we maintain that strong discipline with the budget. That is what is pleasing to see in the budget papers. There's no desire to go spending willy-nilly. There's a desire to keep strong constraint. And I ask the minister: why is it important that we keep that strong spending constraint but keep building our economy? (Time expired)