The Albanese Government's economic plans


It's a pleasure to rise on the motion from my friend the member for Hawke about the Albanese government's economic plans for this country. In 2023, we should be optimistic about the future but realistic about the challenges coming at us from around the world. This chamber has been talking about this for 10 months. We have a lot going for us. We have low unemployment and the beginnings of wages growth. We have high prices for the things we sell to the world.

There is no denying the fact that the cost of living and inflation are a challenge, but when the Albanese Labor government sees a challenge it sees an opportunity. We have already completed the first budget under the Albanese Labor government, and we've seen stronger jobs growth than any other new government on record. Wages growth in our first six months was the strongest in nearly a decade.

It is a pleasure to hear the member for Sturt suddenly notice that there has been a problem with wages growth. He might also like to note that these problems were baked in for 10 years under a Liberal and National government. It was fascinating to hear the member for Moncrieff. Admittedly the member for Moncrieff wasn't part of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government and so missed the 2014 budget. But in my electorate we wonder how a Labor government can take office, show restraint in its first budget, and plan for more restraint, and see 99 per cent of revenue upgrades returned to the budget over the next two years while, under those opposite, just 40 per cent was returned of any savings we made. So they left us with $1 trillion of debt, most of which was accrued before the pandemic, and then, rather than address that issue, they went on a spending spree. People in my electorate wonder what it was they spent money on. We all know where they lifted money from, but what did they spend it on?

They spent it on, as the member for Hawke rightly pointed out, car parks for train stations that don't exist. They made commitments for car parks in electorates that didn't need car parks at train stations and that couldn't be built and didn't get built. They made commitments around the country but ignored electorates like mine and ignored the people in my electorate and their needs. The member for Sturt is decrying the fact that people may not be able to go on a holiday. Well, Member for Sturt, in my electorate people might lose their houses. I think that's just about the difference between those opposite and this government.

We are clearly focused on budget repair, on relief for households and on spending restraint. Australians understand—and in my electorate they clearly understand—that we didn't create these challenges, but they have elected us to take responsibility for addressing them, and we are

Our economic plan is a direct and deliberate response to the challenges facing the economy, including the rising cost of living. One of the very first acts of the Albanese government was to successfully argue for the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, an outcome which helped around 2.7 million Australians. That's 2.7 million Australians who were assisted by our first act. Our budget focused on responsible cost-of-living relief that didn't put extra pressure on inflation, and that is the most important thing—through cheaper child care, expanding Paid Parental Leave, cheaper medicines, more affordable housing and getting wages moving again. In my electorate, people know that the ratings agencies have affirmed our AAA credit rating and pointed to the fact that our budget didn't add to inflation as a factor in their decisions. This is critical. I am really looking forward to Labor's next budget because I have absolute faith that that theme around relief, repair and restraint will continue.

It's important to note that, with all of this in front of us, those opposite cannot bring themselves to walk in here and vote yes on any of it. They decry the situation for people in electorates like mine but refuse to come in here and support them with their votes. They refuse to support members of my community, the community the member for Hawke represents, the people of Chisholm or the people in their own electorates. Instead, this opposition has now labelled itself. We have seen their behaviour. This opposition behaves like a junkyard dog looking for a fight while the people of this country need it to come in here and support our government getting things done.

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