What a fantastic day for Australian workers and families today. We should be and are celebrating. I hope that everybody out there is celebrating the fact they are going to get tax relief as a result of the actions of the Turnbull government and the stronger economy that we’ve delivered since we were elected in 2013. The proof is there: more than one million jobs created in a great economic environment by so many small to medium enterprises that have used their own initiative to get on and employ more Australians in a very strong economic situation.
Our economy has actually grown by over three per cent in the past 12 months. This is happening right now. It’s not the never-never plan of Labor; this is happening right now. It puts us right at the top of the pack of advanced economies right around the world. We saw unemployment drop to 5.4 per cent last month. Good and sound financial management is part of the coalition’s DNA. Bad financial management is part of Labor’s DNA. We see it repeatedly. As we know, the sooner we get the budget back into surplus, the sooner we’ll pay off Labor’s debt and the sooner more low- and middle-income earners will pay less tax. We support and respect hardworking Australians, like the thousands in the South West, in my electorate. By contrast, Labor will attack working Australians, our low- and middle-income earners, by charging them $200 billion worth of new and higher taxes.
Our long-term economic plan ensures that we can guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on and expect from a government, provide income tax relief—delivered today—and bring the budget back into balance. We are guaranteeing the essential services that really matter and make a difference in communities. This includes services as simple as the new headspace centre I fought for and opened in Busselton last week. Mental health is health. As the stigma attached to mental health issues declines—and it’s for us to work to make sure that that happens—more and more people are willing to actively address their mental and emotional health issues. Headspace provides absolutely invaluable support to young people aged 12 to 25.
Now at the new centre in Busselton, one of the fastest growing regional cities in Australia, these young people do have someone to go and talk to, whatever their issues are—psychologists, social workers, counsellors—all the professionals that these young people need to talk to. But these services and opportunities are only made possible by delivering a strong enough economy to be able to deliver them.
And something else that’s so important in my area that Labor never, ever did was to improve mobile phone coverage, something the government has and continues to deliver in rural, regional and remote Australia. There have been 19 mobile phone towers delivered in the South West. None of those were delivered during Labor’s time—not one! This will continue under a new Mobile Black Spot Program we’ve announced—again, only made possible by the stronger economy that we are delivering.
And our plan for stronger economy does include five key pillars encouraging hard work by Australians through tax relief. That was delivered today. I can’t say it enough times: delivered today! We are creating more jobs by backing business, by backing personal investment, by guaranteeing essential services, by—importantly—keeping Australians safe and by ensuring that the government actually lives within its means—something that Labor never, ever did, and I suspect never will. Labor does not understand.
As I said, the Turnbull government is supporting low- and middle-income earners through our plan that passed today, a plan that delivers immediate tax relief for low- and middle-income earners, allowing them to keep more of their money, the money they earn. This is not the government’s money; it’s their money. And, as of today, with the passage of this tax package, more low- and middle-income earners will be able to keep more of their own money.