House debates

Monday, 23 March 2020

Questions without Notice

Coronavirus

2:34 pm

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Fisher for his question and acknowledge, with his background in business, his focus on ensuring that his constituents and, indeed, the people of Australia can continue to stay in a job and that businesses can stay in business. The economic environment, both domestically and internationally, has deteriorated. We expect that the economic shock from the coronavirus will be deeper, will be wider and will be longer. As a result, today we introduced into this parliament a series of bills which represent the most significant support, outside of wartime, for the Australian community and economy.

There is $189 billion of support being injected into the Australian economy in just the last 10 days in terms of announcements. We've partnered with the Reserve Bank of Australia. We're working closely with the commercial banks of Australia to support their customers. And, of course, we have had our first stimulus package, and our second package, which has been designed to support the Australian people by cushioning the blow, particularly for those who have seen their income being reduced or their hours reduced or who are being stood down or, indeed, becoming unemployed. This is very much a 'Team Australia' moment for everyone to come together for the same end.

In terms of the specific measures that we have announced, there's a $550 coronavirus supplement, which effectively doubles what was known as Newstart and now is known as the jobseeker payment. There's a second $750 payment that will go to more than five million Australians. The first payment, which will go from 31 March, is going to 6½ million Australians. People on a carer's payment, people on family tax benefits, people on a Commonwealth seniors health card, people on a disability support pension and, indeed, more than two million people on a pension will be receiving the $750 payments.

We've also changed the deeming rates. That is important because, obviously, many pensioners are affected by that. We're also changing the drawdown rates by halving them, as those opposite did during the GFC, to make it easier for retirees to control their own savings and their own super, and we're providing early access to superannuation for people who have been impacted by the coronavirus. That is very significant because that is the people's own money—$10,000 this year, $10,000 next year—which will help cushion the blow, together with our other measures.

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