Monday, 30 November 2015
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Bushby for that very important question. The government is backing businesses across Australia to strengthen growth and to create more and better jobs. That is why, of course, on coming into government we worked hard to remove that lead which Labor inappropriately put into businesses' saddlebags, the carbon tax and the mining tax, which of course we removed. That is why we are reducing red tape costs for business—so far by about $2 billion a year. That is why we have delivered tax cuts for small business, and of course we are having a conversation right now about how our tax system could be made more growth friendly moving forward. And that is, of course, why we are working so hard to help Australian exporting businesses to get better access and more competitive access to key markets in our region: China, South Korea and Japan. Of course, the Minister for Trade and Investment, Mr Robb, is working very hard to get further access to other markets, like India, Europe and so on.
That is also why we are working so hard to invest in a very ambitious infrastructure investment program, taking advantage of the current comparative downturn in the construction industry to build productivity-enhancing economic infrastructure now, when the cost of construction is lower than it would have been in the past and is likely to be in the future. Of course, we are pursuing competition reform, focusing on making sure that, across Australia, consumers and business can have the advantage of better policy settings moving forward. Very soon the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Minister Pyne, together with the Prime Minister, will be releasing an innovation package which will help to strengthen economic growth moving forward.
On this side of the chamber, we understand that for Australia to be the most successful we can be we need private sector growth. We need businesses across Australia to be the most successful they can be, and that is what we continue to work on. (Time expired)
We are implementing our plan for stronger growth and more jobs, and may I say we are achieving some success. Jobs growth over the last 12 months has been more than 13 times as high as in the last year of Labor. In the last year of Labor, just 23,400 jobs were created—just 23,400 jobs in a whole year in the last year of Labor—and of course over the last 12 months more than 300,000 jobs have been created. What this government will continue to do is focus on pursuing reforms that will make sure that businesses in Australia can be the most competitive, the most productive, the most innovative, the most agile and the most nimble possible so that we can take advantage of the opportunities in the Asia-Pacific but we are also as resilient as possible in the face of inevitable future economic headwinds coming our way from time to time.
That is a very important question that Senator Bushby is asking. Australia is a trading nation, and we always face a number of threats at any one point in time, and certainly right now there are significant global economic headwinds. In particular, the prices that we can achieve for the key commodities we export are much lower than they have been in the past. We have had to deal with the biggest fall in our terms of trade in about 50 years, and of course our economy is transitioning from the strong investment phase of the mining boom into other drivers of growth.
There is, however, another challenge that we are facing in the economy, and that is Labor, because Labor is again at it, coming up yet again not just with any carbon tax but with a turbocharged Bill Shorten version of the carbon tax. As if the Gillard version of it was not bad enough, now we have Bill Shorten, in order to get himself to Paris and away from the parliament this week, coming up with his own carbon tax. (Time expired)