Monday, 22 February 2021
Questions without Notice
I want to make it very clear that in Fitch's statement today about the AAA credit rating they said that the vaccine rollout will 'support the domestic sentiment' and 'help ease risks'. That is what Fitch said today when they were talking about our AAA credit rating. When Fitch were talking about our AAA credit rating and how the vaccine will help ease the risks and help support the sentiment, they said that it will continue Australia's economic momentum—economic momentum that has seen the labour market recover. Unemployment has fallen to 6.4 per cent and there are, as the Prime Minister just said, 59,000 new jobs. We've seen 94 per cent of the 1.3 million Australians who either lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero now back at work. We have seen business and consumer confidence get back to their pre-pandemic levels. We've seen our housing market prove to be remarkably resilient, with prices getting back up to where they were, as well as strong starts from new homebuyers.
This will all be supported as the vaccine is rolled out across the economy. It's going to give those Australians, whether they are businesses or households, an incentive to spend the $240 billion that has accumulated on their balance sheets since the start of the crisis. We have seen the savings ratio go up. We have seen Australians, because of the health restrictions, unable to spend their money and we've seen Australians overall be very cautious. But, as a result of the vaccine rollout, which has started, we are now starting to see that confidence return across the economy as well. Yesterday, when Jane, an 84-year-old Second World War veteran, got a shot in the arm, the Australian economy got a shot in the arm as well.