Monday, 21 November 2011
As the end of 2011 draws near, I take this opportunity to reflect on the past year. This has been a significant year—one that this Labor government is proud of, one that has achieved historic reforms. In a year when the opposition and, in particular, the Leader of the Opposition have continually said no, no, no, the Prime Minister and the federal Labor government have moved from talking about the importance of key reforms to taking action.
It is this Labor government that has kept this economy strong by protecting jobs, driving new growth and creating opportunity. This government knows, and I know, that there are challenges ahead, both globally and domestically. I know that people in my electorate are still finding it tough to make ends meet. It is for this very reason that this government is making decisions that will support jobs not just for today but into the future. Labor made the right decisions during the global financial crisis to keep people in jobs and deliver economic stimulus to drive growth. We have created 750,000 new jobs since 2007.
Local jobs have been supported through nation-building projects, including the Building the Education Revolution. We all know that the opposition have tried hard to paint the BER projects as a failure. However, not one parent, not one student, not one principal, not one construction worker in the electorate of Petrie has been dissatisfied. In fact, every time I go to a BER opening, the construction company, the school and the parents thank me as a representative of the federal Labor government for the new facilities they have.
In just the last 10 weeks, I have opened Moreton Downs State School's new multipurpose hall and new library, Woody Point Special School's new outdoor learning area, Aspley State High School's new science centre, St Benedict's primary school's new multipurpose hall, North Lakes State College's new multipurpose hall and Bracken Ridge State School's new multipurpose hall. I will also be opening Scarborough State School's new hall on 8 December. I heard the member for Blair mentioning his schools.
The member for Bowman interjects about my GP superclinic. I can advise him that the clinic is looking fantastic. I encourage the member for Blair to drive past. By the end of this year, all of the external construction will be completed and it will be ready for fit-out so that it can be opened in the new year. These are great facilities that provide exciting opportunities for the students and the teachers.
If the opposition were not so intent on opposing everything, they would take a moment to appreciate the value that these facilities bring to schools. If the opposition were not so intent on opposing everything, they would see the jobs that have been supported through these projects. If the opposition were not so blinded by negativity, they would see that this Labor government kept the economy out of recession through the decisive action that it took in 2008 and 2009 and has continued to take through its responsible handling of fiscal policy. I should acknowledge that the Leader of the Opposition, in his address to the Policy Exchange on 10 November, acknowledged that the Australian economy is going strong and that we actually deserve serious bragging rights in relation to the strength of our economy. Of course, this is very different from what the Leader of the Opposition and the members on his side say to the Australian people—that is about the doom and gloom of our economy.
I am proud to be part of the Gillard Labor government, the government that has finally taken action on climate change. It is this government that has stood up to be counted, is acting in the interests of future generations and is making the tough decisions and doing the hard yards. This government will deal with climate change, support businesses, support households and invest in new jobs in the clean energy and renewables sectors. Despite this significant achievement, the government is not resting. It is this government's plan to keep the economy strong by spreading the opportunity from Australia's mining boom to all businesses through tax cuts and new infrastructure funded by the minerals resource rent tax; delivering a high-technology future through a superfast NBN; increasing workforce participation and skills so Australia can have the smartest workforce; improving Australia's savings by increasing superannuation from nine per cent to 12 per cent; and establishing a manufacturing taskforce, led by the Prime Minister, to ensure Australia has a strong, competitive and advanced manufacturing sector into the future.
These are just some of this government's achievements, in addition to lifting the base rate of the pension, introducing the first-ever paid parental leave in this country, increasing the childcare rebate and introducing the education tax refund. Of course, significant reforms continue with the national curriculum, ageing, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and school funding. These are all significant reforms to this economy for the Australian people. (Time expired)