House debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Matters of Public Importance


3:34 pm

Photo of Alex HawkeAlex Hawke (Mitchell, Liberal Party, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Certainly, Deputy Speaker. Well, the opposition criticised us yet again, for, in a timely way, removing those supports because it was time for recovery, not time to continue those measures. What would have happened to the debt if the Labor Party had been in office, if they had continued those measures, when at the same time we saw unemployment starting to fall and the recovery on? Again, they have no idea about the real economy in Australia.

We know now that with the government's temporary, targeted and proportionate cost-of-living measures in this budget we'll see households get cost-of-living relief at the right time. These measures will go for six months. We've also increased the cost-of-living tax offset—a $420 cost-of-living tax offset, affecting more than 10 million low- and middle-income earners. Again, this is the right measure, targeted at the right income brackets, ensuring that we will have not an inflationary pressure on the economy but a deflationary pressure, as well as providing cost-of-living relief. And you can see that every part of this budget is designed to support families, to support low- and middle-income earners, to support small and medium businesses, to support those people who are doing the heavy lifting and getting the economic recovery moving.

And that's without going into detail about our support for the regions. It's a word you don't hear from the Labor Party very often, but the regions are where we get most of Australia's economic activity generated. It's where we will get more jobs growth. The only time the Labor Party cares about the regions—when the shadow Treasurer was advising the former Treasurer in the Labor government—was when they banked record-high commodity prices that were never going to last. Every budget Labor delivered came in under the revenue that they banked at record high prices.

So, imagine the shadow Treasurer standing there and saying, 'I'm worried about the debt and the deficit,' when he worked for Wayne Swan. Imagine—when he says, 'Well, why are you not paying back the debt faster?' We've got the biggest bounce back, in terms of revenue, of any budget that we've seen for a long time.

Well, of course we have a deficit, but who's going to be better, after a pandemic—


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