Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the action the government is taking to reduce Commonwealth debt and to foster economic growth? How will tackling Labor's legacy of debt and deficit help to build a stronger Australia?
I thank the member for Eden-Monaro for his question. I can inform him that the government's Economic Action Strategy is about building a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia. If you want a stronger economy you have to fix the budget; and if you want to fix the budget you have to tackle Labor's debt and deficit disaster.
The former Labor government, which members opposite were part of for six years, gave this country the six biggest deficits in our history. It increased unemployment by 200,000 as well as giving us the six biggest deficits in our history—$240 billion of deficit, almost a quarter of a trillion dollars of deficit, in Labor's six budgets. These are deficits stretching as far as the eye can see. And every year you are in deficit adds to the debt; Labor's debt, in a decade's time, would be $667 billion, and every dollar of debt adds to the interest bill. The price that Australians are paying for six years of Labor incompetence is $1 billion a month. That is just to pay the interest on Labor's borrowings. In a decade, it would have been $3 billion a month, just to pay the interest on Labor's borrowings.
The coalition did not cause the problem but we are prepared to take responsibility for fixing it. We were elected to fix the problem, and fix it we will. That is why this budget reduces projected maximum debt by almost $300 billion. We will take the projected deficit in 2017-18 from about $30 billion to under $3 billion within sight of surplus. Less debt means lower interest rates; a lower deficit means that we can do things like scrap the carbon tax and help households to the tune of $550 every single year. But that is not all. We have negotiated two free trade agreements, with Korea and Japan; that means more exports. Thanks to the Environment Minister, we have approved $500 billion in new projects, and that means more jobs. This is a government with a plan, with an economic action strategy. Unfortunately we have an opposition which just has one long complaint.