Senate debates

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Housing Affordability

3:17 pm

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

What we have been doing over summer, rather than lying on a beach with a tattered copy of our election policies, is talking to constituents out there in communities, talking to our local people to understand what their issues are. We understand what they want. You know what it is pretty hard to do? It is pretty hard to get a mortgage without a job. It is very hard to purchase a house—whether it is in Bunbury, whether it is in Benalla or whether it is in Brisbane—without a job. What our government has been focused on is increasing jobs supply and absolutely ensuring that the policies we bring to this place are wholly and solely focused on improving the economic growth within this country and therefore the job prospects of Australians across our economy, not just in capital cities.

I know Senator Hume went through some of the regional policies that we have been developing and talking about, but just this week, for instance, we have seen support for our dairy industry come through the parliament in the House. You want to talk about jobs? I know people on the other side deride living in the country as if it is a bad place, as if it is a negative thing to not live in a capital city. I can tell you, having grown up in a rural area, that it is fantastic. I think there are a lot of CEOs of ASX companies who come from the country. There are a lot of scientists—contrary to those critiquing the APVMA situation—that come from regional areas. A lot of science is done in the regions. When we talk about not having jobs, I think about the measures passed through the House about the dairy industry, which supports 40,000 jobs across this country directly and 100,000 indirectly. Those measures we passed in the other place to support them and their sustainability were fantastic, the sign of a government focused on job creation across our economy—food manufacturing, tourism jobs, trade agreements and mobile infrastructure. It is an incredible challenge. We all want Australians to be able to realise the great Australian dream of owning their own home, but we have to ensure that they have a job and that they earn enough money to save for it.

I think Bernard Salt is quite a witty commentator. He wrote a fabulous article about young people and how they choose to spend their disposable income these days. I think it is quite a useful reference point. I know that my government will be doing absolutely everything it can do, but we are not state governments. We cannot increase land supply. We cannot override local councils' planning decisions. What we can do is focus on building a strong economy so that each and every Australian can have a secure job where their wage increases so they can save and increase their prospects of owning their own home over the course of their lifetime. What we have been focused on over summer has been improving the outcome for all Australians; you have been at the beach. (Time expired)


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