House debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020


COVID-19: Economy

12:08 pm

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

They are very good at media releases over on that side and not so good on substance. They do not have a plan for our economy and they don't have a plan to support Australians. Australians saw the true form and the true colour of our Prime Minister after the bushfires. He left Australians behind during the bushfires. He had other things he had do and he left Australians behind. He certainly had other things that he had to do during the bushfires, but, worst of all, after walking through the towns and even after he was heckled during the bushfires, the Prime Minister promised support, and what did we get? We got overpromise and underdelivery. People are still waiting for support in those bushfire affected areas. There was the election commitment to build a hundred dams. How many of the hundred do you reckon they've built? I don't even have to take off my shoes and socks to count. Zero. They don't have a plan for the economy and they are leaving Australians behind.

Today, we've seen unemployment figures hit over seven per cent, which is obviously devastating for anyone in this country who has lost their job. I don't think there would be any member on any side of the House who would celebrate any job losses in this country, but it really goes to show: what are the government doing to support people out of this economic downturn? The front page of the Australian Financial Review today said it all: they are going to let Australian businesses simply disappear after the September end of JobKeeper and then they'll be moving people over to Jobseeker. What the rate of Jobseeker will be, who knows? But it says a lot about this government: they are not going to fight for the jobs and they are not going to support Australian businesses. It affects millions of Australians—not six million, like they originally said, but 3½ million, revised down in the biggest financial blunder in the country's history. They are going to leave businesses behind in the economic aftermath of the JobKeeper subsidy.

In my electorate of Macnamara, we have some of the hardest-hit places. Elwood, St Kilda, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, Southbank and Windsor are all places that are deeply affected by the coronavirus recession. They are deeply affected by the economic inaction by this government in leaving artists behind, leaving entertainers behind and leaving casual workers behind. They haven't been supporting people in the retail industry for years. We've had vacant shops on high streets across the country for years, and this government have no plan. They are going to leave businesses behind.

If you look at some of the things that they have announced, it doesn't take long to see why this government are going to drive the Australian economy off a cliff without any safety raft whatsoever. Let's take the HomeBuilder program. When I saw the original reporting after the leaks from the government had gone into the papers about how they were going to give $25,000 to Australians for renovations, I thought, 'You know what; that's a pretty good thing,' because the Master Builders Association said that over 70 per cent of their residential construction companies are worried about the forward pipeline of work. The construction industry in Victoria, especially for residential construction, is on its knees. What is the big plan from the Minister for Housing and the Prime Minister? Well, it's to give $25,000 for renovations that are going to cost at least $150,000, for people who earn a certain amount but not too much. I'm not the best mathematician in this place. I'm sure others could claim—


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