News Parliament


I thank the House for this opportunity to talk about the wonderful economic performance of Australia and about the great job the Treasurer is doing in helping to drive Australia's economic growth. Economic growth was 1.1 per cent in the last quarter, 2.4 per cent for the 2016 calendar year. Once again, Australia is growing above the OECD average and faster than every G7 economy. The good economic news just keeps on getting better. Look at Australia's terms of trade—that is, the ratio of our export prices to import prices. That grew by 9.1 per cent, delivering a 15.6 per cent improvement on the December 2015 quarter. That is terrific economic news and, in particular, great news for our exporters.

It is not only the cities that are driving this growth. Regional Australia certainly has a great economic story to tell.

Mr Hartsuyker: Tell us about the economic contributions of the regions.

Mr GEE: I am glad the honourable member asked that question because I will tell you. In the last 12 months to December 2016, there was a 23.7 per cent growth in the agricultural sector.

Mr Hartsuyker: That is fantastic.

Mr GEE: That is fantastic news, 23.7 per cent. Things are looking up on the land.

Mr Hartsuyker: Tell us more.

Mr GEE: I will. Compare and contrast that to Labor's last quarter when they were in office, when agriculture went backwards by 0.5 per cent. Under us, it increases but under Labor it decreases. It is a very sorry tale. I have more good economic news. I think we have to keep the good times rolling here. The gross value of farm production is forecast to increase by 8.3 per cent to a record $60 billion—

Mr Hartsuyker: How much?

Mr GEE: I kid you not—in 2016-17. This exceptional value of farm production comes off the back of record crop production in every single Australian state and a strong performance across livestock industries as well. So things are looking up in regional Australia. You have got to give a lot of credit to this government when you look at things like the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, the Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement. All of these agreements struck by the Liberals and Nationals have made a real difference.

Mr Hartsuyker: Labor could not do it.

Mr GEE: They could not do it; they could not get them over the line. I note that only just last week Australia and China signed a joint statement on enhancing inspection and quarantine cooperation between Australia and China. This will allow our beef producers to export more chilled beef into China worth more than $400 million a year.

Mr Hartsuyker: worth more than $400 million?

Mr GEE: I kid you not, $400 million. It is great to see economic growth powering along in the regions. Of course, we are working hard to deliver over $24 billion in budget repairs. I have got to give credit where it is due to this hardworking Treasurer. He never stops working for this economy, maintaining the coveted AAA credit rating. This is in stark contrast to those opposite, who have been obstructionist on all manner of issues. The backpacker tax is one such example. We saw the member for Hunter pull up stumps, not engage at all and, of course, he got the rug pulled out from underneath him by the Greens at the end of the day—very embarrassing.

Let's talk about the company tax cuts, the enterprise tax plan. From those opposite, there has been nothing but hypocrisy. As the member for Deakin pointed out in his address to the House, the member for McMahon said it was a 'Labor thing' to have the ambition of reducing company tax because it promotes investment, creates jobs and drives growth. Compare and contrast that to what we have seen over there, the arrant hypocrisy. No wonder no-one trusts the Leader of the Opposition. He also said reducing the corporate tax rate sees more capital flowing into our domestic economy. What an arrant hypocrite he is.

Those opposite come into this House, they block and they obstruct but nevertheless there is hope for the country because the Liberals and Nationals are here delivering economic growth. We are here. We never sleep. We deliver economic growth right across our country and maintain our AAA credit rating. There are good times ahead not only for the nation but in particular for country communities around Australia. I commend the Treasurer for his great work.