Wednesday, 2 March 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on how the latest national accounts provide further evidence of the growing strength of the Australian economy and how we are transitioning to a more diversified economy? How is the sound economic management of the government promoting further jobs and growth in our economy?
I thank the member for Barton for his question. I also thank him for his tremendous service to this parliament as the member for Barton. Today's December quarter national accounts demonstrate once again that Australia is making the successful transition of its economy from the investment phase of the mining boom to a broader based economy. This is happening. It shows that our economy is growing. It grew at three per cent last year through the year and 0.6 per cent for the December quarter, exceeding expectations, which were far less.
This has been particularly through the strength of domestic household consumption backed up by the increased confidence that we have seen out there amongst consumers, particularly over the last six months. Dwelling investment improved some 12.1 per cent, the vast majority of which in this last quarter has been in the apartment market, which we know is more predominant amongst investors and particularly negative-gearing investors. Rural exports are up 13 per cent over the course of this past year. Service exports are doing very strongly at eight per cent growth, as I reported to the House yesterday. This will all be further encouraged and supported in the years going forward in our service exports and our other, more general export performance by the trade agreements which have been completed by this government.
There were more than 300,000 jobs generated last year, and we see why: because the economy is successfully transitioning. It is growing faster than the G7. It is growing faster than the OECD. It is growing at twice the rate of resource based economies like Canada. At three per cent, we are matching with economies like South Korea. We are working together as a country to ensure that we successfully transition our economy and we are doing it as a nation. It is the biggest challenge facing our nation and our national economy to ensure that we continue to manage this transition well.
What that requires in its next phase is to continue to encourage investment, and you do not do that by putting big taxes on investment like those opposite plan to do. What you do is what happened in the last budget: we increased the tax advantages, particularly for small businesses, and the instant asset write-off and those measures. As we go forward, we ensure that we continue wherever possible to do the right thing by businesses. In the innovation statement, we introduced new tax concessions and capital gains tax exemptions for new start-ups, because to get through this next phase we are going to need the productivity growth that comes from innovation.
I tell you what you also do not do: if you want to ensure that we continue to successfully manage this transition, you do not tax and spend like those opposite, because that is not a plan for jobs and growth. It is not a plan to transition the economy. This is the biggest challenge facing this economy and their tax expense budget (Time expired)
Ms O'Neil interjecting—
Mr Pyne interjecting—