I rise this evening to talk about the forthcoming election. It is an opportunity for me to reflect on the things that I have been part of. They are things that have been delivered by two great Labor leaders: Prime Minister Gillard and Prime Minister Rudd. I know not, as I speak at this time, which one of them will lead us to the forthcoming election but I know that both leaders, and this great party of ours, have a wonderful legacy which we are all here to fight for. It is a grave reminder to me of what is at risk for this nation should Labor not have the opportunity to implement its future agenda and it gives me an opportunity to reflect on how we formed government in minority and how, despite those nay-sayers opposite, we have delivered a full term and a very full agenda in the best interests of the nation.
This is a government and a country that has not only survived but also thrived. It is an economy that is strong. And despite a withering global financial crisis that has brought nearly every major economy to its knees we have an economy that has thrived. Australia has done better than not only tin-pot economies or minor players on the world stage but also foundation economies—great economies such as America, Great Britain, France, Europe and Japan.
I cannot imagine another government in minority that would be prepared to take the political risks necessary to achieve great things for this country, as this Labor government has done. Through the economic devastation, the Labor government has steered our great nation in a manner that means our economy has not only survived and thrived but is the envy of the world. And we on this side of the chamber have had to wear the irresponsible imputations of the opposition claims that the economy may be ruined. But despite this our government has got on and done the job necessary—delivering for all Australians—and it continues to do so.
We have a strong economy—one that is surviving and thriving in tough times. This means more jobs, better jobs and better conditions, a dividend that delivers increases in health spending. We do not want a strong economy for its own sake. It is about building better lives and opportunities for all Australians. That is what I am in here to fight for, a strong economy to deliver support and help to Western Australian families, through things like: A National Plan for School Improvement, to make every Western Australian school a better school; like DisabilityCare, to bring dignity to people in Western Australia with disability by meeting their everyday needs for support and by meeting the need for respite for their families; and basic things like the schoolkids bonus, which I know the Abbott coalition wants to do away with. The second instalment is out in July and it is something that those opposite say should be cut. That is some $15,000 over the course of the schooling of a child.
WA pensioners on the maximum rate are $5,300 better off due to this government's historic increase to the pension. I will remind the chamber that Mr Tony Abbott opposed this increase. This government is also securing quality retirement for West Australians. We are boosting the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent. I know those on the other side have made a decision to cut super savings and delay this increase indefinitely. So we on this side have cut taxes and increased pensions. We are managing the economy well. We are implementing the Gonski reform, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, support for families, increased super, cut taxes and increased pensions.
But there is more to do. We have started a massive skills program to help West Australian business win contracts and help keep jobs onshore. It is about helping employers skill up their workforces and keep WA people in WA jobs, and helping young West Australians into jobs and study. It is about the paid parental leave that over 26,000 WA women have taken advantage of. It is about aged-care reforms, about giving people dignity in aged care. It is about 21st century broadband to all households. It is about tackling global warming, moving our economy and our environment into a clean energy future. It is also about protecting our marine environment for future generations through a national network of marine reserves. And the list of the important things that we have done, to build a legacy to continue into the future, goes on.
There are important things at stake here for WA: widening the Kwinana Freeway, sinking the Perth to Fremantle railway line, the new Forrest Highway, the Great Northern Highway, and new commitments from the last budget taking federal government infrastructure investment in Western Australia up to a record $6.9 billion. From where I sit, it is vitally important that a state that is growing the wealth to the nation is able to have an investment made in the infrastructure it needs for the future. These are all things that the Labor government has put on the table. They also include a record investment of $418 million into the Swan Valley bypass and $500 million into a Perth metro rail.
I note that Barnett promised to upgrade the Perth rail network, and he now does not know how to pay for it. Like Mr Abbott, he just says no. Urban rail is not in Mr Abbott's knitting. This government is committed to giving all Western Australians the opportunity to benefit from the mining boom and to have access to well-paying jobs, to the NBN, to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to education equality. All of this has been achieved in what has been a toxic political environment, driven by Mr Abbott and supported by his big miner mates and partisan media barons.
I note what might have been, had the crossbench been persuaded to support a coalition government in 2010. We have an example of this in some of our states. If WA is the model to go off, we would certainly be worse off. What draws me to that conclusion? The Barnett Liberal government has failed its economy. It has failed to pass legislation and failed to invest in public infrastructure required to advance the Western Australian economy. It has failed on major projects. Oakajee has come to a screaming halt. James Price Point has failed. The Muja Power Station has just seen a quarter of a billion dollars wasted on energy blunders. They are failing on economic management. They still have not brought down a state budget. We had an election in February. The state budget was due in May, and they have still not brought down the state budget. This is just the start. There are 1,200 cuts to Public Service jobs expected.
The point I am drawing here is that this is a sign of what we can expect from an Abbott-led government. Mr Abbott has said he respects state government cuts, and he will deal with the federal budget in the same way. He has form when it comes to axing services. As health minister, he ripped $1 billion out of public hospitals under Medicare. (Time expired)