House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Questions without Notice

Economy

2:19 pm

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

I thank the member for Robertson for her question and acknowledge that prior to coming to this place she was a schoolteacher, she's an active lifesaver and she cares deeply about her constituents. She's also a strong believer in the importance of the JobKeeper program and the other measures that we have announced to support Australians at this difficult time. Today's unemployment numbers are starting to reveal the real economic impact—the painful economic impact—that the coronavirus is having, with some 594,000 fewer people in work and an unemployment rate at 6.2 per cent. These are our neighbours. These are our family members. These are our friends. These are workmates. People are really struggling economically, worried about their job security and worried about their economic future at this time.

That is why the Morrison government has announced over $320 billion worth of financial support at this critical time. This includes the jobseeker coronavirus supplement of $550, a 50 per cent wage subsidy for apprentices and the JobKeeper program, at $130 billion. And it is helping people right across this country, like Michael, who runs a local cafe in Gosford: South End Social. He's put his staff on JobKeeper and he's said the following: 'Without the JobKeeper payment, my cafe would still be closed and I would have had to let go of my hardworking staff. It's the sole reason I am able to keep the cafe open and running today. The day that this payment was announced, I and many other people in the hospitality sector breathed a huge sigh of relief, knowing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.' Tim runs the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby and said, 'We can't stop having staff here to facilitate, to feed and to care for our animals, but the JobKeeper payment has been a game changer and means the impact to our business has been so radically reduced.'

These are the practical examples. These are the real-life stories of Australians and their businesses who are being saved by the JobKeeper package. While others may seek to be negative and talk down the Australian economy, we are getting on with the job of helping Australians through this difficult time. We know that Australian families are struggling. We know that Australian businesses are doing it tough. But their government has their back.

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