Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Matters of Public Importance
Thank you to those opposite for seeking to talk about the budget. It's an excellent budget. Those on this side of the House are happy to talk about it as much as possible, so we thank you very much for giving us this opportunity. We're happy with it for a number of reasons. It spends billions of dollars on infrastructure we all need, it lowers taxes for individuals and businesses and, uniquely for a budget in the last decade, it delivers a surplus. After more than a decade of deficits, this budget forecasts a surplus of $7.1 billion in 2019-20. It is a $55.5 billion turnaround from the deficit we inherited some six years ago.
We've only got a surplus because we've put in the hard yards to make our economy strong. As the Prime Minister says, the great thing about a surplus is that it means you can spend money on things, and we've got a lot of things to spend money on. We will deliver record infrastructure investment of over $100 billion over the next decade, busting congestion and getting families home sooner and safer, while investing in our future economic growth. This includes $2 billion to help drive and deliver fast rail from Geelong to Melbourne; an increase of $3 billion for the Urban Congestion Fund, taking it to $4 billion; $2.2 billion for road safety packages; and an additional $1 billion for the next phase of the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative. Congestion is the biggest issue in Bennelong, and this funding will help everyone in my electorate.
Our economic plan delivers record health funding to guarantee Medicare, fund even more hospital services and provide greater access to more affordable medicines. The GP bulk-billing rate in Bennelong is 89 per cent. Last year, over 934,000 GP visits were bulk-billed in Bennelong, 182,021 more than Labor's last year in government, in 2012-13. In this budget, the government is increasing total health funding from $81.8 billion in 2019-20 to $89.5 billion in 2023, up from $64 billion in 2013-14. We've listed thousands of drugs on the PBS, keeping Australians healthy and supporting the pharmaceutical industry, with its biggest employer in my electorate.
We will deliver record funding for schools and new measures to equip Australians with the skills they need. Recurrent funding for schools will reach a record $19.9 billion in 2019, with average Commonwealth funding per student having increased from $3,755 in 2014 to $5,097 in 2019. Funding for all 28 public schools in Bennelong is increasing by around 52 per cent per student over the decade to 2029. There are 6,822 local families in Bennelong benefiting from the new childcare package.
But we haven't just used the money from our strong economy for spending; we've also used it to save people money and put more money in Australians' pockets. While the budget forecasts a surplus, it also delivers an additional $158 billion in income tax relief for hardworking Australians on top of the $144 billion in tax cuts locked into legislation last year. The government will provide additional tax relief to hardworking Australians by more than doubling the low- and middle-income tax offset. Low- and middle-income earners will receive tax relief of up to $1,080 to support consumption growth and ease cost-of-living pressures. That's up to $2,160—
Dr Chalmers interjecting—
Mr Albanese interjecting—
I'll come to that in a minute. You remind me of a couple of retired tennis players looking at Roger Federer, reckoning you used to play better, and when you get back on the field you will. But you didn't and you won't. That's a little juice for you. Taxpayers will be able to access the offset after they lodge their end-of-the-tax-year return from 1 July 2019, which is in just 13 weeks time. In only 13 weeks time, Australians will be better off. After the next election, when we're returned to power— (Time expired)