The highlights from Wayne Swan’s 2010 federal Budget speech …

Tonight we meet the highest standards of responsible economic management.

Every dollar of new policy in this Budget has been offset across the forward estimates, as we meet the strict confines of our responsible fiscal strategy.

A strategy that will see the budget return to surplus in three years time, three years ahead of schedule, and ahead of every major advanced economy.

A strategy that will pay off debt three years sooner – again ahead of every major advanced economy – without increasing taxes as a share of the economy beyond the level we inherited from our predecessors.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

We do not easily forget this time last year, when we faced the grimmest set of global economic conditions since the Great Depression.

Last year, around $60 billion was stripped from our export earnings, and company profits fell more than in the 1990s recession.

Our two-stage strategy was to support jobs, then lay down a framework to bring the budget back to surplus as the economy recovered.

Tonight I am proud to announce this strategy is working, ensuring our economy has far outperformed the rest of the developed world.

Advanced economies contracted by over 3 per cent in 2009, while Australia grew 1.4 per cent. Instead it will grow by around 2 per cent.

Together, Australians have defied global economic gravity; not by accident but by choice.

Together, we have avoided the destruction of skills and capital by keeping people in jobs and the economy ticking over.

Fiscal stimulus, monetary policy, a well-supervised banking system, and our close ties with Asia all served to protect our country.

But events in Greece remind us risks in the global economy stubbornly endure.

Aftershocks from the crisis continue to reverberate around parts of the world. We have more robust growth, lower unemployment and lower debt than our peers.

AN AGENDA FOR THE FUTURE

Our goal is to manage the years ahead as decisively and successfully as in the year just passed.

So this Budget targets three challenges: the return to full capacity in a two-speed economy; climate change; and the fiscal pressures of an ageing population.

GROWING THE WHOLE ECONOMY

Mr Speaker, the resources boom presents enormous opportunities and challenges.

Booms are not a permanent part of the economic landscape even if they might be expected to run for a decade or more.

That is why we need to manage our resources wealth sustainably – capturing a fairer share for all Australians and turning it into other forms of wealth that last.

That is why we are introducing a Resource Super Profits Tax from 1 July 2012.

This will reduce the tax burden on less profitable resource projects and projects in their early stages, supporting greater resource sector investment and more production.

It will also ensure our community charges a fairer price for our finite resources.

INVESTING IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

This Government accepts the science of climate change and the need for combined global and domestic action.

….

We sought to pass our Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme through this Parliament this year because it is the cheapest and most effective way of tackling climate change.

As we continue to work to build the necessary domestic and international consensus for carbon markets, we will roll out the most substantial renewable energy plan this country has seen – consistent with our decision to increase the renewable energy target to 20 per cent by 2020.

….

Tonight I announce the next step – a new $652 million Renewable Energy Future Fund, which will be part of an expanded $5.1 bilion Clean Energy Initiative.

BETTER HEALTH AND HOSPITALS

We believe Australians deserve to be able to see a GP whenever they need one, particularly late at night or on a weekend.

That is why I am announcing a $772 million investment in our GPs and primary care services.

This will provide better access to GPs after hours and establish Medicare Locals – ensuring every Australian has the access and advice they need locally.

FACING THE FUTURE WITH CONFIDENCE

Mr Speaker, it is a tribute to every Australian that, tonight, we face our challenges from a position of strength, and not sifting through the rubble of recession.

Were it not for the shared successes we could not afford to boost national savings or invest in skills, infrastructure, renewable energy and hospitals.

… We have great advantages, and a spring in our step.

We face the future with confidence, and not with complacency.

Peter Fray

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