Keeping the Australian Economy Strong

17 Sep 2018 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby) (11:08): I'm delighted to speak on this motion today, which recognises the strength of the Australian economy. A strong economy benefits every single person in my community, in my electorate of Boothby, in my home state of South Australia and in the nation. On this side of the House, we know that when the economy is strong we can afford to invest more money in services for our communities like health care, education and infrastructure. On this side of the House, we know that when the economy is strong more jobs are created.

In fact, more than 330,000 jobs were created in the last financial year, which is the largest jobs growth in a financial year since 2004-05. This is more than double the jobs achieved, on average, under the previous federal Labor government. This is particularly important in my home state of South Australia, where, after years of federal and state Labor governments, we saw high unemployment and poor business and investor confidence. Thankfully, together with the newly elected South Australian Liberal government, we are turning things around, because that's what Liberal governments do.

A strong economy means we can afford to equip our Australian Defence personnel with the capability they need to keep themselves safe and to keep Australians safe; and to support the manufacturing industry in Australia. Our $35 billion future frigate and $50 billion Future Submarine projects will be built in Adelaide, injecting billions of dollars into our local economy. We know there are going to be 4,000 jobs created by the future frigate project alone: 1,500 direct jobs at the Osborne shipyard and 2,500 jobs throughout the supply chain. Overall, the shipbuilding plan will see 15,000 jobs created: 5,000 directly in South Australia and the rest throughout the country.

When the economy is strong, we can also afford to lower taxes, and that's exactly what we have done, because we believe Australians should keep more of what they earn. We've delivered tax relief to every hardworking Australian, including immediate relief of up to $530 a year for low- and middle-income earners, because we know Australians have been doing it tough when it comes to cost of living. In my electorate of Boothby alone, almost 66,000 taxpayers will benefit from an extra $500 in their pockets. We're also supporting small and medium businesses, with around three million Australian businesses already benefitting from more competitive tax rates courtesy of our legislated tax cuts, and just last week we extended the $20,000 instant asset write-off for small businesses.

Thanks to our investment in health, the money going back into the pockets of hardworking Australians won't need to be used to visit the doctor or to pay for medicines, because we have record bulk-billing rates of 86.1 per cent and more than 1,500 new and amended medicines listed on the PBS since 2013. The coalition government is also investing an extra $23.5 billion in schools over the next decade, with funding per student increasing on average by around 50 per cent over a decade.

A strong economy means we can invest more and deliver more for our communities. In my community, we are investing in infrastructure to bust congestion and make travelling safer. Oaklands crossing is finally being fixed after 40 long years thanks to the federal government's $95 million contribution, which I fought hard for to deliver to my community. I also secured $43 million to extend the Tonsley rail line to Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, and $2 million for the Marion Road Planning Study to ensure my residents spend less time in traffic.

A strong economy means we can invest in our local sport and community clubs. I have been working hard to support all of the wonderful groups in my community. I fought for and secured federal funding to rebuild the clubrooms at Hewett reserve in Blackwood, for new facilities at St Marys sports park for the Kenilworth Football Club and to upgrade the courts and lighting for the Warradale Park Tennis Club. I've been able to support the Seacliff, Brighton and Somerton Surf Live Saving clubs to install solar panels, and provided $150,000 of federal funding for a new beach watchtower for the Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club to keep Australians safe.

I could go on, because there is a very long list of projects that have been delivered for my electorate of Boothby, but the key message is that, when the economy is strong, we can afford to invest more into the services, infrastructure and national defence that our nation needs. I'm proud that my community, hardworking Australians, are seeing this first hand.