House debates

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Matters of Public Importance

Prime Minister

3:22 pm

Photo of David GillespieDavid Gillespie (Lyne, National Party, Assistant Minister for Rural Health) Share this | Hansard source

It is my great pleasure to be here today talking about leadership. We have had the usual emotional argument and philosophical, aspirational policies trotted out as a reason for criticising the leadership of the coalition. You only have to see what was delivered today, the omnibus savings bill with $6.3 billion worth of savings—this was due to negotiation skills and the cutting of a deal; it will deliver the savings that this nation's finances need. As a famous President of the USA said many years ago: 'It's the economy, stupid.' Look at what is happening in the economy now. We are the envy of all the countries in the G7. The growth in our economy, at 3.3 per cent, is outstanding compared to Europe, Japan, America and Canada. They are all envious. We are actually delivering great economic improvements in really tough international times.

We have been at the forefront of cracking down on tax avoidance measures. The biggest game in the world economy is moving money away from nation states that rely on taxes. We have led the way on that crackdown. We have been helping our small businesses. Members on this side of the House are very familiar with how hard life is for small businesses because most of them have been in small business. We understand it, as opposed to those on the other side. Earlier today, or yesterday, those on the other side were asked who had been in small business. No-one put their hand up. That gives you an indication of why this coalition government, led by Prime Minister Turnbull and the member for New England, are getting on with delivering results. We have 220,000 jobs that have been created in the last year. The recent ANZ consumer confidence survey is at its highest level all year. We have got tax cuts on the board for small business, and they will go down to 27½ per cent.

Small businesses, like most Australian industries, rely on the transport industry. The other side had policies in place, such as the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, to send 30,000 small business men and women running transport companies to the wall. It was this coalition government that got rid of that. We are delivering our prepare-trial-hire program that will deliver 120,000 opportunities over the next three years for young unemployed people to get an internship that can lead on to a full-time job.

The defence industry plan that we have rolled out is going to deliver a ship-building plan for the next 10 years, which will not only deliver the security for our naval defence that we need, with surface vessels and submarines, but it will also spur many more defence industry jobs. These are really important initiatives that the Turnbull-Joyce coalition government has delivered. All that money will go into construction and raw product that is sourced out of Australia. The steel that will go into all of these boats will come from Australia.

You only have to look at what has happened in the communications sector with the coalition government. We have a $230 million cybersecurity plan that we have rolled out. The NBN was a basket case when the coalition took over the responsibility of government in 2013. There were only 51,000 customers after $6 billion had been spent over six years—that amount of customers is being signed up each month at the moment. We have 2.9 million premises that have now been passed in the last three-and-a-bit years, as opposed to 51,000. We have 1.2 million customers. We have the Sky Muster satellite that is now delivering out to regional Australia, where many of my colleagues are the local members. That is 22,000 people getting an upgraded satellite internet service, let alone the 430,000 people who can now access fixed wireless—as opposed to, after six years, only 51,000 people. That was an absolute joke. We have also delivered a mobile phone black spot program, and that is delivering 499 new or upgraded mobile telephone towers.

In the health portfolio we are delivering in spades. We get criticised for attacking bulk-billing, but there were 17 million more bulk-billing services in the past year. It is at record levels. Spending in 2012-13 on health was $61.9 billion; this year it is going to be $71.4 billion. We have increased spending on mental health: a $192 million package, and innovative ways of delivering suicide prevention around 12 sites. We are delivering 10 more headspace sites around the country.

The National Innovation and Science Agenda is making it easier to attract capital and get talented people and researchers into the country. We have an accent on science, technology, engineering and maths, with a 26 per cent increase in funding to schools. We are trying to promote the take-up of science and technology in schools across the nation, and trying to make accessible celebrated female scientists and technology leaders in particular as role models for our children.

You have only to see what we have delivered for inland rail to see this is nation-building infrastructure. We committed just under $600 million in the last budget to secure land for the route, for the further preplanning and delivery of it. That will take 200,000 trucks off the road every year. It will link Melbourne to Brisbane with one continuous rail line, straight to the Port of Brisbane. It will also open up the corridor, and there will be at least 800 jobs in the actual construction of it. But that is just one initial benefit; there will be 600 extra jobs per year, year after year, due to the growth in the economy along the corridor. That is the absolute long-term benefit.

You only have to see what water can do to the inland of Australia. We have one of the driest continents on earth but, for decades, there has been no dam construction. What has the Turnbull-Joyce government done? The coalition, in the last term, delivered the first dam built in Australia for decades—the Chaffey Dam was extended. We have also got another $500 million in a fund to go into dams—the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund—as well as a $2 billion loan facility. That is going into the Rookwood Weir in Queensland, the Dungowan Dam in New South Wales, the Macalister Irrigation District and Loddon pipeline in Victoria and the second Tasmanian irrigation tranche, which will provide four new dams and make reliable water a feature in the Apple Isle. You can have all the land you like but you cannot grow anything without secure water. That is the important thing. That is what dams do. They deliver secure water. That water delivers money into the economy. So, with inland rail and dams, we are getting the heartland of Australia developed—which has been put on ice for way too long.

This government is also delivering security to our nation. We have kept our borders secure. It is more than 800 days since a boat arrived, and we have closed down 17 detention centres. The previous government opened up 17 detention centres. In the previous administration, there was a peak of 2,000 children in detention—now there are none. Because we have controlled our borders, we have been able to initiate taking up to 12,000 Syrian, Turkish and Jordanian refugees in a special program—as well as our existing, very generous and compassionate refugee intake system.

We have a $50 billion land infrastructure package. We have our Smart Cities plan, which is delivering $4 billion. We have delivered three Smart Cities packages already— (Time expired)


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