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Thursday, 22 September 1983
Page: 1231

Mr BRUMBY(10.21) —Some monments ago we listened with some interest to the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Hawker) who attacked the Budget recently introduced by Premier John Cain's Victorian Labor Government. Amongst the fantasy of claims made by the honourable member for Wannon was the claim that the deficit of that Budget exceeds some $800m-despite the honourable member's admission that the books did balance-and his preposterous claim that the effect of that Budget was to add somewhere in excess of $25 per head, per family or household in Victoria. If we are going to talk about households and effects of Budgets and economic policy we should consider the policies of the previous Fraser Government, and indeed the Hamer Government in Victoria. We might consider the fact that in the years of the Fraser Government in one out of every five households someone lost a job. We now have more than 10 per cent unemployment. The Victorian Budget was framed in these difficult economic times, times of depressed employment levels, with low taxation returns and with a need for a dramatic improvement in capital works.

One can see that the Victorian Labor Government already has proved to be the most successful Government in Victoria in addressing the problems of economic recovery and employment growth. Victoria is leading the States in the housing recovery. More than 50 per cent of total new housing improvements in Australia--

Opposition members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order.

Mr BRUMBY —Members opposite would learn if they listened. It is all there. More than 50 per cent of new housing improvements in Australia have been generated in Victoria. It is because of our policies, the policies of the Victorian Labor Government. We have not only proved successful in the area of housing but we are also the State in Australia with the lowest level of unemployment. When Mr Cain won government in 1982 we did not have the lowest level of unemployment but we do now after only 18 months of government. I think that puts to rest completely the idiotic claims of the honourable member for Wannon that our Budget has somehow been irresponsible and not addressed the problems facing Victoria. It is an outstanding record. We are leading in housing and we are leading in employment generation.

Let us look at what the Budget did. The Budget was predicated around a 44 per cent boost to capital works and will create 25,000 new jobs. The Government has also provided a $250 rebate to support our ailing Australian motor industries. It is more than the Liberal-National Party Government did when it was in office at either a State or Federal level. Finally, the honourable member for Wannon made certain references to comments in the Age about the Budget. For the benefit of the honourable member for Wannon I will read the Age editorial:

In its overall objectives and economic impact, the second Jolly Budget is reasonable and responsible. It is more adventurous than the recent Federal Budget in expanding spending on capital works and employment schemes, but it balances these massive outlays by more stringent economies on departmental expenditures and selective tax increases. The spending priorities are right, and the higher taxes and charges are not excessive in their inflationary impact ( adding a net 0.5 per cent to the cost of living) and are socially equitable.

That is what the Age said about the Victorian Budget. It also stated:

If the long-awaited economic recovery is indeed on the way, this Budget should do more to encourage than to hinder it.

That is considerably more than we can say about the previous Budgets of the Hamer Government in Victoria or, more importantly, about the Budgets of the previous Federal Government. The Cain Government has led the way. The Victorian Treasurer is the most adventurous and at the same time responsible Treasurer of any State. Victoria is leading the way in new housing approvals; it is leading the way in investment and it now has the lowest rate of unemployment of any State in Australia. All honourable members opposite would do well to learn something from the Victorian Treasurer so that if they ever do win government again they will not botch it up as much.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.