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Parliament: State Economy

Mr MATT KEAN ( Hornsby ) ( 15:33 ): My motion deserves to be accorded priority because everyone should prioritise building a strong and prosperous economy. We should prioritise creating jobs and opportunities for every citizen of New South Wales. That is exactly what the CommSec "State of the States" report says this Government has done. It confirms what this Government's policy agenda has achieved. It states that New South Wales remains the best performing economy, which is underpinned by an improving job market, above average population growth and solid retail sales.

To understand where we are, we need to understand from where we have come. I have a copy of the 2010 "State of the States" report, which states that New South Wales continued to bring up the rear in the State and Territory rankings. Members of the Labor Party are very interested in who is dining with whom. The new shadow Treasurer attended a special lunch held yesterday in true Labor style—the fine china was on the table and the Louis Roederer Cristal champagne and caviar were served at a massive cost of $750. We had some spies at the lunch.

Mr Ryan Park: Point of order: Unless the member for Hornsby was at my son's—

The SPEAKER: Does the member have a point of order?

Mr Ryan Park: Unless the member was at my son's—

The SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. I remind members that they should not take points of order during these debates.

Mr MATT KEAN: It is unlike Andrew Clennell to get things wrong.

Mr Ryan Park: Point of order: I was not at that lunch.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Keira will resume his seat. He is already on three calls to order. There is no point of order and the member should not be taking one.

Mr MATT KEAN: The Government received a leak about the Labor Party's luncheon discussion of its economic plan. It was headed "Making New South Wales No. 8 again".

The SPEAKER: Order! The House has bipartisan agreement that points of order will not be taken during debates on motions to be accorded priority. There has been a breach of that agreement after only three minutes. The member for Keira will resume his seat.

Mr MATT KEAN: The Labor Party's plans to make New South Wales No. 8 again include giving unions more control, restoring the carbon tax, increasing the size of the public sector, and, my favourite, building no infrastructure. This Government is committed to building a strong economy, and that is exactly what it will continue to do.

To view the Hansard Transcript click here.

Mr MATT KEAN ( Hornsby ) ( 15:46 ): I move:

That this House:

(1) Notes that the CommSec State of the States report once again ranks New South Wales as the best performing economy in the nation .

(2) Notes that New South Wales remains in first place for retail trade, housing starts and employmen t .

(3) Acknowled ges that it has taken a Liberal and Nationals Government to restore confidence in the State's economy .

(4) Supports the Government's plans to continue its record investment in infrastructure and quality ser v ices.

The State of the States report could not be more clear: New South Wales is number one again. What has been the key ingredient for that to occur? It is the policies of the Liberal-Nationals Government—policies that have put economic growth and opportunity at the forefront of the decision-making process. It is about creating jobs, and that is what the Government has done in abundance. It is about creating new housing starts. It is about creating opportunities for everyone in this State to get ahead. But a strong economy is not an end in itself—it is the means through which we provide the safety net for those who may slip through it, protect the vulnerable and care for those most in need, and that is exactly what this Government is committed to doing.

The strong economy built by the New South Wales Government has enabled us to build the infrastructure that New South Wales missed out on for too long under those opposite. Whether it is the NorthConnex project, the North West Rail Link or Camden Valley Way, the Government has delivered critical infrastructure that improves the life of every New South Wales resident, whether in Hornsby, Holsworthy, Heathcote, Heffron or Hawkesbury—wherever it is. The New South Wales Government is creating the environment through which everyone can succeed. This has not always been the case. There is a clear contrast—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! There are too many audible conversations in the Chamber. Hansard and I are having a lot of difficulty hearing the contribution of the member for Hornsby. I ask members to take their conversations outside of the Chamber.

Mr MATT KEAN: There could not be a clearer contrast between our agenda and that of the Opposition. When they were in office, they were committed to making New South Wales No. 8 again. Under them this State was last amongst States when it came to economic growth. It was last on a whole range of indicators. But there was one indicator where their Government was not last; the one thing they were very good at was creating unemployment. They were No. 1 in the Commonwealth when it came to unemployment. We on this side are committed to focusing on the drivers of economic growth, including housing, infrastructure, business and tourism; and that is exactly what we are doing. We are providing the critical services and infrastructure that the residents of this State need and that they missed out on for so long under those opposite.

I welcome the announcement that the member for Keira is the new shadow Treasurer. I see that he had a lesson in economics and the budgetary process from the Premier today. I am sure he will take that on board. The Opposition should join the Government and support our policies that create growth, jobs and opportunities for every resident in New South Wales. That is exactly what we have been doing and exactly what those opposite have been opposing. The new shadow Treasurer has an opportunity to come forward and support an agenda that will grow our economy and that will create opportunities for everyone. I know the member for Wollongong will not want that, but the member for Keira will have to push past his factional masters from Wollongong.

This Government is all about creating opportunities for the citizens of this State—whether it be in education, in our health system or wherever it is. This Government is committed to delivering the things that the citizens of New South Wales want and need, and that is exactly what it is doing. For example, the sale of electricity assets in this State has delivered a dividend to be invested back into renewing infrastructure. We have been able to recycle those proceeds into better infrastructure in the form of NorthConnex and the North West Rail Link. These projects will deliver improvements all around the State. There is also the St George Hospital. To paraphrase the Prime Minister, there has never been a more exciting time to live in New South Wales, and the CommSec State of the States report confirmed that.

Mr RYAN PARK ( Keira ) ( 15:52 ): As a rising star, one always has to be careful that one does not get set up.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Certainly, when someone is on three calls to order, they do.

Mr RYAN PARK: The member for Hornsby must have been speaking to my five-year-old son, who leaked that I was at his school lunch yesterday. Let us get to what the Government is No. 1 for. The motion refers to employment. The Government says it is No. 1 for employment, job creation and all that sort of thing. The member for Cessnock raised an interesting point during the previous speech, although it went unanswered. He asked, "What was the unemployment rate at the beginning of 2011 when Labor left office?" It was 5.1 per cent. It is currently 5.3 per cent. So there is a slight problem—it has increased. So, yes, the State is No. 1; it is No. 1 for having fewer jobs. What else is the State No. 1 for under this Government? It is No. 1 for having the highest number of senior bureaucratic staff. Some 25 per cent of staff in the New South Wales Treasury earn salaries in excess of $174,000, which is about half as much as the member for Davidson earns. So the State is No. 1 for big salaries. The State is also No. 1 for secrecy.

In a freedom of information Government Information (Public Access) Act request I asked the Treasurer, "Have you been dealing with any briefs about the privatisation of Sydney Rail?" Treasury came back and asked me a lot of questions. I answered them and they said, "Mr Park, we have your freedom of information. It is all good. Unfortunately, there are 97 briefing material notes that have gone through the Cabinet process but you are not allowed to see any of them." In the true spirit of cooperation I asked the Minister for Transport what he had seen. He is the Minister for Transport and if this State is No. 1 for transport and it was planning to privatise Sydney trains, he would know. He said he had no documents. Treasury has 97 documents that have gone through the Cabinet process but not one of them is from the office of the Minister for Transport. Who is running public transport in New South Wales to make it No. 1? I can assure members it is not the member for Bega.

In what other area is New South Wales No. 1? It is also No. 1 in cost blowouts. How are we going with cost blowouts? Cost blowouts are fantastic in this State; they are rising every day. We are up to a small figure of around $8.1 billion in cost blowouts. The Opposition's project management could build a school or two with $8.1 billion. It may help build an odd hospital or two. It probably will not be enough to build an airport rail line, but it could help to build the odd piece of infrastructure. Yes, we are No. 1. We are No. 1 in a heap of things that Government members do not want to talk about. We are No. 1 when it comes to secrecy. We are No. 1 when it comes to fewer people with jobs. We are No. 1 when it comes to youth unemployment. We are No. 1 when it comes to this Government not knowing what one arm is doing with the other arm. We are No. 1 in cost blowouts. We are No. 1 in all things that this Government does not want us to know about.

Mr Mark Coure: Time.

Mr RYAN PARK: I note that the member for Oatley has chipped in. I hope that the Australia Post campaign is going well. When I last looked Australia Post was not regulated through him, but I hope his postage stamp campaign is fantastic. [Time expired.]

Mr ADAM MARSHALL ( Northern Tablelands ) ( 15:57 ): I support the motion moved by my colleague the member for Hornsby. The most salient question that has to be asked after that contribution from the shadow Treasurer is: Who is the brain behind all the accounting and working out on that side of the Parliament?

Mr Ryan Park: Well it ain't you.

Mr ADAM MARSHALL: No, I am on this side of the Parliament.

Mr Ryan Park: You were on our side once, though.

Mr ADAM MARSHALL: No, I was not.

Mr Ryan Park: That is not what your records say.

Mr ADA M MARSHALL: The member for Cessnock reads the documentation and he is good at counting. He would not make mistakes on social media. He deserves to replace the member for Keira as the shadow Treasurer in this Parliament. As much as the member for Keira wants to deny it, the fact is that the report from CommSec found again that the New South Wales economy is No. 1. It not only found that New South Wales was in first place in a number of the key indicators—retail trade, housing starts and employment—but it found that New South Wales will remain the No. 1 economy for some time.


Ms Noreen Hay: How long?

Mr ADAM MA RSHALL: Ask CommSec. The documents has to be read first. I would suggest members opposite read it. The member for Wollongong has not read it. The member for Cessnock has read it.

An objective of any government is to build a strong economy. Without a strong economy none of the key infrastructure and services required by communities can be delivered, particularly in country New South Wales where our No. 1 economy status is being borne out. In the past 12 months country New South Wales has recorded the biggest jobs growth we have ever seen—that is, 59,700 jobs, or an increase of 5 per cent—more jobs than were created in the whole of Queensland in the same period. In fact, country New South Wales is growing 2½ times faster than Victoria. We have seen some amazing results in country New South Wales. People in the bush are punching far above their weight because of our strong economy—the No. 1 economy in Australia. Not only politicians are saying that the New South Wales economy is the No. 1 economy in Australia; CommSec also said it recently.

Mr Mark Coure: It must be true.

Mr ADAM MARSHAL L: It must be true. It is true. We can see that with the record number of jobs that have been created in the bush. [Time expired.]

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG ( Macquarie Fields ) ( 16 :00 ): The last time we debated this State's economy was when the member for Kiama moved a similar motion in this Chamber. I like the member for Hornsby; he is not a bad chap. But it seems to me that he has been taking lessons from the member for Kiama, who came into this Chamber, beat his chest and said, "New South Wales has the strongest economic growth in the country. New South Wales is No. 1." However, he forgot to check his facts because New South Wales was actually No. 5. One of the greatest indicators of whether a State is No. 1 is employment—an issue to which the member for Hornsby referred. Let me go through the facts, which I know the member for Kiama does not seem to like.

When members refer to statistics they should be aware that there are so many variations it is a little unfair to refer to only one figure at any point in time. I wish to refer to unemployment figures or statistics. When this Government came to office the unemployment figure was 5.6 per cent but it is now 6.6 per cent. The New South Wales economy might be No. 1, but we have more unemployment in this State. If the statistics for New South Wales are so good why are more people unemployed? More importantly, why are more young people unemployed? Our economy relies on future income earners and taxpayers, who are currently unemployed. When this Government came to office the unemployment figure for south-western Sydney was 7.8 per cent and it is now 14.2 per cent. Government members forgot to mention that fact.

In 2011 youth unemployment in the Blacktown local government area, one of the biggest in the nation, was 11 per cent and it is now 13.3 per cent. New South Wales is No. 1 in increasing unemployment, in particular youth unemployment. As I said earlier, the member for Hornsby has been taking lessons from the member for Kiama. This Government has destroyed TAFE—a system that skills up young people in local areas, enables them to get jobs in the future, enables them to earn decent incomes, and enables them to contribute to our economy. I congratulate the member for Hornsby on moving this motion. Under his Government, unemployment is the No. 1 issue in this State.

Mr MATT KEAN ( Hornsby ) ( 16:04 ): In reply, I thank the member for Macquarie Fields for the most interesting session in creative accounting I have ever heard. People talk about lies, damned lies and statistics, and that is what we just heard. The member claims he is a professor, but I am not sure what sort of professor he is. The member for Macquarie Fields has shown up the shadow Treasurer impressively. Why does he come into the Chamber and undermine the shadow Treasurer by performing so well? In the six minutes they had to rebut the motion, Opposition members did not talk once about economic issues. They talked about secrecy, transport and faith. That had nothing at all to do with the State of the States report. The economic agenda of the Opposition is appalling. If members do not believe me they should believe the 2010 State of the States report.

After 16 years of Labor Government that report showed what Opposition members are capable of. They are capable of making New South Wales No. 8 again. Their campaign slogan is "Make New South Wales No. 8 again." Let me tell members why Opposition members want to do that. They want to give unions more control. The grand economic plan of the Opposition is to put unions in every workplace and to force everyone to join a union. The Opposition wants to create more red tape. Members of the Opposition have a plan to wrap every business in red tape and to strangle the life out of it. They have a plan to raise taxes. No income earner is safe. Every income earner will be smashed by new, big Labor taxes—carbon taxes, stamp duties and land taxes. The Labor Party wants to grab their money in order to redistribute it to their Labor mates and to sectional interests.

The Opposition wants to increase the size of the public service. The Opposition loves increasing the size of the public service at the expense of the private sector and individual initiative. This is the plan, and I am exposing it here today. The member for Cabramatta laughs but he is sitting in the Chamber planning with other members of the Opposition. Their No. 1 agenda item is to build no infrastructure—not a single piece of infrastructure. When the Labor Party was in power for 16 years it built no infrastructure in the electorate that I represent. During that time we got zero infrastructure. The good people of Hornsby were rewarded for their hard work with zero—with a doughnut—from the Labor Party. The people of Hornsby were punished because of where they live. That is not acceptable.

This Government is committed to every resident in New South Wales. Every New South Wales resident gets an opportunity to make the most of his or her own God-given gifts under a Government that is committed to building an economy that creates opportunities for people to make the most of what is given to them. The State of the States report could not be clearer. The policies and agenda of the New South Wales Government have been given a big thumbs-up by CommSec. The Government is committed to building our economy and to creating opportunities for every New South Wales resident. We will continue to stand up for the policies that protect our environment.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is that the motion be agreed to.

The House divided .

Ayes 46

Noes 34

Majority 12

Motion agreed to.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Debate on the motion accorded priority having concluded, the House will now consider Government business.

To view the Hansard Transcript click here.