| August 14, 2018
It is sad that the Labor Party's lead speaker spent so much of his contribution trying to find fault with the current economic situation that we have here in Australia. The Liberal-National government have delivered significant commitments to have one million new workers more than there were prior to their election. That is a direct result of the hard work of Australian businesses and the government's setting the right economic environment for those businesses to take on those workers. These thriving businesses create jobs in Australia and give Australians the opportunity for work. Over the last five years, we've delivered personal and small-to-medium business tax cuts and more trade deals, which means more exports and more jobs. This has certainly been extremely prevalent in the Goulburn Valley, where every time we're able to list a new commodity in a free trade agreement we have farmers and businesses prepared to take advantage of it.
Last year was the best year on record for jobs growth and saw employment go to a record high of just over 12.5 million people. And, yes, there is a problem we have with the stubborn end of our workforce—it's hard to get rid of that bottom five or six per cent—even though in my electorate there are hundreds if not thousands of job opportunities that cannot be filled in the lines of mechanics, diesel mechanics, steel fabricators and food technicians, not to mention people involved in the standard agricultural pursuits of fruit picking and milking cows who also have opportunities to work in meat-processing plants. It's not clean work. It's not great work. But in my electorate of Murray we have literally thousands of jobs, right now, that we are having trouble filling.
The Liberal-National government has delivered tax relief for hardworking Australian families. We have this basic understanding that the money Australians earn is their money, and we believe they should be able to keep as much of their own money as possible. It's a view that our political opponents do not share. They believe that Australians should pay more tax to enable governments to spend more money. It's a view we do not share. We believe that a new model will be a fairer taxation model. It will deliver lower taxation, fairer and simpler. We can only do this because the coalition government has this nation in a financially responsible way, with a surplus to be delivered at the next budget.
Next year. In 2019-20 we will be delivering a surplus. This will be the first time that has been delivered for more than 10 years. The previous Labor Party government was certainly unable to deliver this—although they did brag that they were going to deliver three in a row. They weren't able to deliver one.
The economic plan by the Liberal-National government is working. In my electorate of Murray we are seeing local food processors and manufacturers investing and growing their businesses. But there are business costs and pressures—certainly in the areas of electricity and gas but also in the costs associated with water, which plays a huge role in the production of primary produce. Three milk processors are in the process of builds of over $100 million in total and creating over 100 new jobs, so there is a tremendous optimism in the milk-processing industry and, hopefully, that optimism will flow on—it doesn't at the moment—to the farmers producing that milk.
There are fruit packers who have plans on the table to invest in cutting-edge technologies in storage and packing that will result in opening up new markets, both domestically and overseas. This will be another investment, over $100 million, in the fruit industry, which will lead to more Australian jobs and a further increase in the GDP of the Goulburn-Murray region.
The Liberal-National government's economic plan is working. Not one policy from the Labor Party will lead to more jobs; not one policy will to lead to less taxation for our people. I support the motion.