Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016; Second Reading
I thank members for their contribution to this debate on the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016. I think it has been a good opportunity this morning to be able to move with some haste to ensure that this matter is dealt with in the parliament this week. So I thank members for their contribution.
The challenge before this parliament is to arrest the debt that risks the living standards of not just future generations of Australians but also the current generations of Australians. This is the government's task. This is the task that the Turnbull government are focused on. The Turnbull government are interested in getting outcomes. We will leave the politicking and the commentary about the politics to others. There were a few grandstanding speeches here earlier in the debate and a few laps of honour made by those opposite. We will leave the politicking there.
We are interested in outcomes. We were elected to get outcomes in this 45th Parliament and this bill is getting those outcomes. So the Turnbull government are getting on with governing. The agreement reached on this bill demonstrates the ability of the Turnbull government to get the things done that we were elected to do in this parliament.
As a government we inherited accumulated deficits in 2013 of some $240 billion and a debt curse from the previous government of some $317 billion. In the last term Labor did engage in budget sabotage for three years, not only opposing urgent budget repair measures but promising to reverse measures passed and to engage in even higher spending. Over the past year Labor proposed and then walked away from some $50 billion or thereabouts in expenditure measures. This bill though I hope brings that process to an end. This bill I think provides a new way forward from what was going on in the past. This bill brings to book that process. Labor are now supporting things that they previously opposed, and what they called zombie measures are being included in this budget. We welcome that. We welcome the change of heart, but we in this place, particularly we on this side of the House, know it will not be enough.
Some $40 billion in budget improvement measures are before this parliament. The $11 billion of those measures included in what is agreed in this omnibus bill and what will pass in terms of tobacco excise means we are making significant progress on those issues, working in this parliament with the agreement of the opposition. But the balance and focus of these savings measures must be on savings on outlays, and $25 billion of our $40 billion in budget improvement measures are on savings. So, where there are measures that have not been picked up and supported in this bill, the government will continue to pursue those measures because they are necessary for the job of budget repair, and we will seek to do that in partnership with other parties and individuals in both this place and the other place to ensure that we can achieve that job of arresting the debt.
I will be moving a series of amendments in the third reading, which summarises the agreement that has been reached with the opposition.
I want to particularly put on record my thanks to the shadow Treasurer for his engagement in this process, as well as my team member Mathias Cormann, Senator Cormann, the Minister for Finance, and for the strong work that has been done between the two parties. That has been done in good faith. I do acknowledge the strong work that has been done by the shadow Treasurer on behalf of the opposition. We look forward to continuing to work on issues moving forward, wherever that is possible to be done. I would commend that process to the House. And I commend this bill in the form that we will get to. I am confident, as we move through the third reading stage, for an outcome that will deliver $6.3 billion in budget savings and arrest the debt by some $30 billion over the medium term. That is an outcome that the Turnbull government can be rightly very proud of, and we will continue to govern.