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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3708


Mr ZIMMERMAN (North Sydney) (14:13): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline to the House how the budget is responsibly delivering a stronger economy and lower taxes for Australians? Is the Treasurer aware of any support for this plan—of course, apart from my own?

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:13): I thank the member for North Sydney for his question and for his support for the government's budget, as I thank all of my colleagues for their support for the budget. I thank the Australian people, who know that 10 million of them will be getting tax relief under this budget. The small businesses will be getting tax relief, not just from the budget passed but from the extension of the instant asset write-off for small businesses for a further year. Our budget invests in a stronger economy. We have a tax plan for a stronger economy. The Labor Party has a tax plan for a weaker economy. Only a tax plan that creates jobs and rewards investment, effort and people who put in the hard yards produces a stronger economy. We are investing in key infrastructure. We are investing in science and technology to boost business performance—including farmers' access to additional markets through our export trade deals. We are investing in new industries. We are investing in a stronger economy.

That is being done at the same time as keeping our spending under control. Real growth in expenditure has been 1.6 per cent over the entire term of this coalition government. Real spending growth is less than two per cent, which is at the lowest level of any government in more than 50 years. On top of that, we are getting spending under control by bringing it down as a share of the economy to less than the long-run average, to 24.7 per cent. We are keeping taxes under control with a clear tax speed limit, because on this side of the House, in the Liberal and National parties, we know that too much tax is too much tax. On the Labor Party side, too much tax is never enough. It's never enough for the Labor Party, because they cannot control themselves when it comes to spending. That's why this budget that we have handed down has turned the corner on debt.

S&P, the ratings agency, has said:

The government has also shown a commitment to fiscal prudence with its plan to return a balanced budget earlier than previously announced … These developments have helped ease the negative pressures on the Australian sovereign ratings.

Moody's has said:

… the budget is a positive step in improving the fiscal outlook … underpinned by solid economic growth … the improved outlook for both net and gross debt is positive.

As I go around and speak to the economists, I can't help but be drawn to Mr Koukoulas, who is well known to those on the other side of the House. He says:

… the budget is framed on a series of realistic and reasonably conservative economic forecasts for economic growth, wages and company profits …

Saul Eslake says the economic growth forecasts were reasonable. Adam Boyton points out that the numbers look conservative. Michael Blythe from the CBA has said:

Frankly it is hard to quibble with these underlying Budget assumptions.

Alan Oster has said notably that the government is more conservative than the Reserve Bank of Australia. This budget delivers for all Australians. (Time expired)