Op-Ed: Our plan for a successful transition to a diverse, innovative, 21st century economy.

May 7, 2016
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This is the most exciting time in history to be an Australian. The opportunities have never been greater so the challenge for us is to take advantage of them.

Success is not guaranteed.

Our economy remains fundamentally strong. In the last calendar year, our economy grew at 3 per cent — stronger than any of the G7 nations. And the number of Australians in work increased by around 300,000 — the highest growth since 2007.

Our plan is to make the economy stronger still, so we can generate revenues we need to provide high-quality services and infrastructure.

On Tuesday night, my Government laid out our plan to ensure Australia continues the transition from a mining economy to a strong, prosperous 21st-century economy.

It was not a Budget full of giveaways and sweeteners.

That is because this was not an election Budget — it was a Budget with longer-term security front of mind. We outlined our three clear aims:

To deliver on our economic plan for jobs and growth;

To ensure we have a sustainable tax system;

To hold faithfully to a responsible, fair and prudent approach to ensure the Government lives within its means.

We will introduce tax incentives for business to invest and grow, with our plan to reduce the company tax rate to 25 per cent over the next decade. Small businesses and medium-sized businesses will benefit first.

This will make Australia more competitive internationally, encourage new investment, new jobs and higher real wages.

Over time, it will deliver a growth dividend of a full 1 per cent of GDP.

There will be modest tax relief on average fulltime earnings of $80,000 which will keep around 500,000 Australians from moving into the second top tax bracket.

We are also ensuring our tax system has integrity so multinationals and high-wealth individuals pay their fair share.

And we are better targeting superannuation concessions, making sure they are more flexible to support Australians to save so they are not dependent on the age pension.

Women tend to live longer than men and typically arrive in their retirement with lower balances. That is why we are introducing a Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset so low-income workers don’t pay more tax on their super than they do on their income — this will assist women working in part-time employment.

There will also be capacity to carry forward unused concessional caps so women have the choice to top up super accounts after they return to work.

Getting the young unemployed into the workforce is also a priority.

Our PaTH program will place up to 120,000 young people into workplaces to get them into the habit of being employed, and to introduce them to employers.

We are also committed to ensure young Australians have the skills they need. Our student achievement plan will improve outcomes in literacy, numeracy, STEM subjects.

My Government accepts the reality that we must live within our means.

The way to return the Budget to balance is by getting expenditure under control and by growing the economy so revenues can lift.

One of the greatest risks to the successful transition to a strong economic future is for government to spend unwisely and to increase the tax burden or the deficit — or both — to cover the extra spend.

Sadly, that is the approach of our opponents.

After three years, all Labor has been able to come up with is an agenda to increase taxes by $12 billion over the next four years and $100 billion over the next 10.

This is not a plan for the future.

This election will present Australians with a very clear choice.

My team is working hard to make sure we pull every lever we can to set Australia up to take advantage of the exciting opportunities ahead.

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