Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer
3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013
The Australian economy continues to outperform other advanced economies.
Our fundamentals are strong with solid growth, low unemployment, very low public debt, contained inflation, a strong and stable financial system and an unprecedented investment pipeline.
The Government's actions during the Global Financial Crisis kept the doors of businesses open and hundreds of thousands of workers in jobs.
The Australian economy has grown for more than 20 consecutive years – a record unmatched by any other advanced economy over this period.
Australia's GDP is significantly higher than its pre‑GFC level, while many advanced economies are still struggling to make up for lost ground.
Since the GFC, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created in Australia, compared to the millions lost in other advanced economies.
Australia has an unprecedented investment pipeline, with a large proportion of current projects at an advanced stage.
Australia has a triple A credit rating from all three major global ratings agencies, for the first time in our history.
Even at its peak, net debt will be a tiny fraction of the average of the major advanced economies.
This puts us in a strong position to respond to unanticipated events in both the global and domestic economy.
Strong and stable financial system
Bank guarantees helped secure Australia's financial system through the GFC.
Our four major banks are amongst the highest rated in the world and are well placed to meet the new Basel III capital and liquidity reforms.
Banks have reduced their reliance on short-term wholesale debt, replacing it with long-term wholesale and deposit funding.
The Gillard Government is committed to using Australia's economic strength to build a stronger and fairer society. It is providing help with cost of living pressures and working to ensure the benefits of a strong economy flow to all Australians, not just a fortunate few.
Paid Parental Leave
Australia's first national Paid Parental Leave scheme helps families look after their newborn babies at a time when costs go up and family income goes down.
The Childcare Rebate has been increased from 30 per cent to 50 per cent for out-of-pocket childcare expenses, providing families with up to $7,500 per child each year towards childcare costs.
The Schoolkids Bonus automatically provides 1.3 million Australian families with $410 for each primary school student and $820 for each secondary school student to help cover the cost of books, stationery, computer equipment and school uniforms.
Family payment increases
The Government has cut the effective tax rate by up to 20 cents in the dollar for single parents, providing extra support and more incentives to work. The Family Tax Benefit Part A for 16-19 year olds in school has also been increased by up to $4,208.
The biggest boost to the pension in our history has seen the maximum rate increase by about $154 per fortnight for singles and $156 per fortnight for couples combined since September 2009.
This Government has made substantial progress in improving our tax and transfer system, implementing more than 30 individual reforms originating from the Australia's Future Tax System Review .
Personal tax cuts
Three rounds of income tax cuts worth $47 billion have reduced the bill of someone earning $50,000 by 18 per cent or around $1,750 per year.
A tripling of the tax-free threshold will provide greater incentives to work and mean about one million extra Australians won't have to lodge tax returns. Around 7 million low and middle income Australians will get a tax cut.
- Someone on $20,000 a year will get a tax cut of $600.
- Someone on $25,000 a year will get a tax cut of $503.
And over 6 million people earning less than $80,000 will get a tax cut of more than $300.
Business tax relief
Australia's 2.7 million small businesses will receive tax relief through the instant asset write-off for any eligible asset worth up to $6,500, as well as the first $5,000 for cars, utes and other vehicles.
A loss carry-back initiative is expected to benefit around 110,000 companies in the first four years, to help businesses to invest, retool and retrain to be competitive.
The Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) will spread the benefits of the mining boom to all Australians, not just the hugely profitable mining companies. It will do this by delivering:
Sharing the boom with families and low income Australians
The Government is spreading the benefits of the mining boom by providing up to $600 a year more for 1.5 million families currently receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A. Increased payments will flow from 1 July 2013.
A new supplementary allowance of $210 for singles and $350 for couples combined is also being provided to 1.4 million Australians on low incomes. This new payment will commence from March 2013.
The MRRT will help boost the superannuation of 8.4 million workers, increasing their pool of retirement savings by $500 billion by 2037.
Major tax breaks for business
The MRRT will help fund tax breaks for over 2.7 million small businesses.
In addition, the new loss carry back initiative is expected to benefit around 110,000 companies in the first four years, to help with the cost of transforming their business.
Proceeds from the MRRT will be invested to build new and better infrastructure, particularly in our great mining regions.
The Federal Government is delivering big reforms to make our nation a stronger community and a fairer society. This is all part of the Federal Labor Government's commitment to manage the economy responsibly and spread the benefits of the boom, in the interest of working Australians and not just for a fortunate few.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The Government is taking the first historic steps towards establishing a National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS).
A National Disability Insurance Scheme will start in Australia from July 2013 in up to four locations across the country.
For the first time in Australia's history people with significant and permanent disability will receive lifetime care and support, regardless of how they acquired their disability.
An NDIS will give all Australians with a significant disability the peace of mind to know that their care and support needs will be addressed, no matter where they live or how they acquired their disability.
Aged Care Reform
Through the comprehensive $3.7 billion Living Longer. Living Better package, the Government is delivering long overdue reform of the aged care system. Over the next five years an extra 40,000 home care packages will be delivered along with $1.2 billion to improve the recruitment, wages and training for aged care workers.
This will allow more Australians to stay at home for longer and provide more and better quality care for those who need residential care.
Central to the Government's agenda of building a stronger, more secure economy is lifting productivity. At the core of the Government's policy agenda is a broad-based plan to boost the productive capacity of our economy. This includes things like:
- Building the National Broadband Network , which will help drive down costs of doing business;
- A doubling of the investment in roads, rail and ports over the six years from 2008-09;
- A greater focus on skills, training and apprenticeships, including the $3 billion investment in the Budget;
- Promoting innovation through better targeting of tax incentives, and over $9.3 billion in spending on science and research;
- Reducing regulatory barriers and business red tape by working with the states on consistent rules and processes;
The Gillard Government is putting a price on carbon pollution, helping to deliver a clean energy future for all Australians.
For the first time, Australia's biggest polluters will have to pay for every tonne of carbon pollution they emit, which will deliver:
- A cut to carbon pollution of at least 160 million tonnes a year in 2020;
- A clean energy economy with new economic opportunities and clean energy jobs.
- 9 in 10 households will receive some assistance through tax cuts and/or payment increases.
- Over 4 million Australian households will get an extra buffer with assistance that is at least 20 per cent more than their expected average price impact;
- Over 1 million Australians will no longer need to lodge a tax return by 2015-16;
- On average, it will cost households $9.90 per week but they will get $10.10 per week in assistance.
The Government has taken action to increase competition in the banking system by empowering consumers and supporting smaller lenders, and has put in place measures to secure the long-term flow of credit to our economy. These reforms include
- Banned exit fees outright on new home loans from 1 July 2011;
- Boosting consumer flexibility to transfer deposits with new tick'n'flick switching service;
- Introduced mandatory key factsheets for new home loan customers from 1 January 2012;
- Empowered the ACCC to prosecute anti-competitive price signalling;
- New laws to get a better deal for Australians with credit cards;
- National community awareness campaign to empower consumers in banking.