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Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Page: 9865

Economy


Senator HUME (Victoria) (14:21): My question is to the Minister for Finance representing the Treasurer, Senator Cormann. Can the Minister update the Senate on the National Accounts data released today and what this shows about the importance of the Turnbull government's plan for jobs and growth?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:21): I thank Senator Hume for that question. What the release of the quarterly National Accounts data shows is that the Turnbull government's plan for jobs and growth is working—that it is working. Growth in the September quarter was 0.6 per cent, following an increase of 0.9 per cent in the June quarter, which means that growth over the year has accelerated from 1.9 per cent to 2.8 per cent, through the year, which is above the OECD average and puts Australia back up towards the top of the pack for major advanced economies around the world and, incidentally, is also broadly in line—in fact, slightly better than anticipated at budget time. New private business investment grew for the fourth consecutive quarter, rising two per cent to be 7½ per cent higher than a year ago. This is the strongest through-the-year growth since December 2012. Strength in new business investment was led by new engineering construction, which expanded to 6.3 per cent in the quarter and is 12.7 per cent higher through the year.

Employee salaries and wages increased 1.2 per cent in the quarter to be three per cent higher through the year which, of course, is also a positive outcome, and this positive outcome on wages and salaries has been driven by strong job creation, with more than 1,000 jobs a day created in the September quarter. Under the Turnbull government, of course, Australia is shaping up to have a record year for jobs. There are now 355,700 more Australians in work than a year ago; more than 80 per cent of these new jobs are full-time jobs. These results are further evidence that our economy is continuing to grow and strengthen under the coalition's plan for jobs and growth, and what it shows is the superior outcomes that can be achieved with a pro-business, pro-growth, pro-investment, pro-jobs policy agenda, as opposed to the anti-business, anti-jobs agenda from the opposition.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Hume, a supplementary question.



Senator HUME (Victoria) (14:24): May I also ask the minister to outline to the Senate how the government's pro-business, pro-investment, pro-growth and pro-jobs policies are supporting the opportunity for all Australians to get ahead?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:24): The government's pro-business, pro-investment, pro-growth, pro-jobs plan is, of course, supporting the opportunity for all Australians to get ahead: that is what it's all about. At the core of our plan is our understanding that the way for Australians to have the best possible opportunity to get ahead is to ensure that the businesses of Australia have the best possible opportunity to be successful and to be profitable. The more successful and profitable businesses can be, the more Australians they can hire and the more they can pay them. Nine out of 10 Australians work for private sector business, so imagine my surprise when I read that Senator Wong attended a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition where they declared a war on business. Business is at the core of creating opportunity for all Australians to get ahead. Bill Shorten should be declaring a war on those dogs that keep eating David Feeney's homework. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Hume, a final supplementary question.



Senator HUME (Victoria) (14:25): Can the minister further outline what the impacts would be on investment, on jobs, on growth and on wages if the government's plan for jobs and growth is not implemented?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:25): It's very simple. If we did not implement our plan and if Australia was subject to the alternative plan—the anti-business, anti-investment, anti-growth, anti-jobs and anti-opportunity plan of the Leader of the Opposition—it would lead to less investment, lower growth, fewer jobs, higher unemployment and lower wages. It would have a disastrous impact on the opportunity for Australian families to get ahead. But don't take our word for it. We now have it in black and white. We have it from the Leader of the Opposition's mouth. He has declared war on business. He is engaged in war on business. That is very bad news for all Australians, because nine out of 10 Australians work in a private sector business. Mr Shorten has declared war on all those Australians who work in the private sector business across Australia. Mr Shorten, if he gets elected as the Australian Prime Minister, is going to come after you!