House debates

Monday, 15 June 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Employment

2:02 pm

Photo of Bridget ArcherBridget Archer (Bass, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on how the Morrison government's JobMaker plan will drive our economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic to create jobs and guarantee the essential services Australians rely on?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Bass, a keen supporter of the Bridgenorth Parrots. It was great to be joining them recently on the airwaves with their new radio program. If you're down around Bridgenorth way, I can highly commend the program to you.

Australia has done well, as we have acknowledged, in its response to the COVID crisis, both from a health point of view and from an economic point of view. But that is not to in any way understate the terrible economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The economic impacts are real, they're damaging and, for Australians directly impacted, they are heartbreaking and causing great anxiety and great uncertainty. Thirty months of jobs growth was lost almost overnight. Budget revenues will be significantly impacted. It is anticipated it will take two years before we can even return the economy to the scale that it was at prior to COVID hitting us. It will be five years at least before we can regather ground on the growth that we had been looking forward to as we were ending last year.

This response that the government has put in place has two levels. There is the short-term support that is necessary, particularly at present, and then there are the longer term economic changes that are necessary. That's what our JobMaker plan is about. It's about restoring our economy and what was lost from that economy from the impact of COVID-19. This is a five-year plan. It's a plan that must be implemented, as it is being implemented, and it must be done in parallel with continuing to exercise disciplined budget management, because that's how you guarantee essential services. Our government remain absolutely committed to those essential services and the funding support we've provided for them in hospitals and schools, and we are very well aware of the increasing pressures in aged care and disability services and we will meet our commitments.

Infrastructure is a critical part of that JobMaker plan, together with the announcements we've already made on skills, industrial relations, energy and Federation reforms, and there'll be many more which we will speak to in the months ahead. Today, together with the states and territories, I've announced $1.5 billion in extra funding for ready-to-start projects. Some $9.3 billion has been brought forward in the past eight months to ensure we can get these projects on the ground and running as they are occurring, and we're also bringing forward the fast-tracking of 15 major projects with the states and territories worth some $72 billion, including the Marinus Link, which I know the member for Bass would be very interested in.

All up, there are some 66,000 jobs in these 15 major projects, and we'll be seeking to halve the approval times. (Time expired)