I rise to take note of the answers in question time today, but I do so with great enthusiasm for the work that has been done by the Liberal-National Party government in bringing forward a budget that is going to deliver tax relief for all Australians, encourage and reward working Australians, and reduce the cost pressures that their households face.
Everyone faces the price of higher taxes. It weakens the economy across the board. It costs jobs, especially for those who are most vulnerable to poverty. It makes it so much harder for people who are disadvantaged to get into work when we have a weak economy, and that is why this government and its plans so firmly support all Australians to work hard and to get ahead.
I’m proud to see that our team, as a first step, has put together a budget that will deliver tax relief of up to $530 for middle- and low-income earners and that is being delivered right now. The second step is that Australians will have protection for what they earn from the scourge of bracket creep—making sure that when they get a pay rise, when they earn overtime or when they work more hours they get the benefit in their own pockets, rather than having it gobbled up by bracket creep. The third step is that this government is working hard to make sure more Australians pay less tax by making personal income taxes simpler.
The best part about all of this is that it is affordable, and the reason it’s affordable is that this government has worked so hard to build the economy from the position it was in when it came to government. They have generated so many more jobs. In fact, there are 1,000 or more new jobs created every day in this country now, and that means that we have the lowest number of people receiving welfare from the Commonwealth government that we have seen in 20 years. This is a remarkable achievement. Not only does it reduce the expenses that the Australian people face, but it also means that we have a greater revenue flow. We have more people who not only have the dignity and purpose of work but also are contributing to revenue by paying income tax themselves. This is very exciting, because it frees up this country to invest in its future. I’m particularly excited to see the investments in infrastructure that are being made by this government in Queensland, my home state. This budget is doing so much for Australians, and it is going to keep feeding the economic growth—
Senator O’Neill: Where’s the new money?
Senator STOKER: I’m so glad to hear that Labor is interested in where this money is coming from. It is quite exciting, because the revenue has increased more and more, as more Australians get into work, because we are committed to building business. We are committed to giving them every reason to invest in more jobs and every reason to build their investment in Australia. And every time that happens we find that more company taxes are paid and more income taxes are paid, and we have the ability to guarantee the essential services that Australians depend upon. It is terribly exciting, and I am so proud to be a part of a team that has achieved so much.
In infrastructure, Queensland will benefit economically, and will get home sooner and safer, from the investments that are being made. There will be $3.3 billion in investment into continued upgrades for the Bruce Highway, including $880 million for the Pine River to Caloundra corridor upgrade, $800 million for the Cooroy to Curra section D upgrade and $2 million for additional safety works. That’s not all. There’s also $1 billion allocated to upgrading the M1—that important artery for the Gold Coast—and $390 million for the Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade. There’s $300 million for the Brisbane Metro and $170 million for the Cunningham Highway—so much opportunity for this country. We are just so proud to be delivering for all Australians.