Tuesday, 1 June 2021
Questions without Notice
I acknowledge not only the experience of the member for Chisholm before coming to this place, as a speech pathologist and someone in small business, but also the significance to this place of the member for Chisholm as the first Chinese-born member of this House. The member for Chisholm and other members of this House today have all Victorians in our thoughts, as Victorians, more than six million of them, are now enduring a fourth lockdown.
It's a painful reminder that the pandemic is still with us—a pandemic that saw Treasury last year fear that the unemployment rate would reach as high as 15 per cent and that GDP could contract by as much as 20 per cent or more, and that saw 1.3 million Australians either lose their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero. The Morrison government responded with an unprecedented amount of direct economic support, including in measures in this year's budget of $291 billion. That's more than twice what all the states and territories combined have committed.
JobSeeker, JobKeeper, HomeBuilder, the cash flow boost and $750 payments to millions of pensioners, veterans and carers have helped strengthen the economy. In the member for Chisholm's electorate, more than 30,000 people were able to get a JobKeeper payment. In the member for Chisholm's electorate, more than 6,000 businesses were able to access the cash flow boost. The net result of this economic support has seen Australia have the strongest growth in the back half of last year on record and seen the unemployment rate fall in April down to 5.5 per cent. And, as the Treasury secretary confirmed today at Senate estimates, 150,000 people have come off unemployment benefits since JobKeeper ended.
The budget delivered just over two weeks ago saw continued economic support, $41 billion in COVID related economic support continuing, including tax relief—including for more than 60,000 people in the member for Chisholm's electorate—immediate expensing, the loss carry-back measure and other economic support. On this side of the House we have shown that, when this crisis was at its peak, we provided an unprecedented amount of economic support. That has seen the jobs come back not only in Victoria but right across the country.