House debates

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Matters of Public Importance


3:12 pm

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I have received a letter from the honourable member for Rankin proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The failure of this Government's Budget to do enough to create jobs and build for the future, while leaving too many Australians behind.

I call upon all those honourable members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places.

More than the number of members required by the standing orders having risen in their places—

3:13 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

The budget that was handed down last night from that dispatch box was somehow, miraculously, less than the sum of its parts. This was the biggest missed opportunity in a Commonwealth budget since Federation. This was the budget where Australian politics' butter-fingers was thrown the ball and he dropped it. The whole nation was ready for a vision for the future, a vision for jobs, a plan to get us through this recession and into recovery, and a plan to kickstart that recovery and kickstart the economy so that we can start growing again, the right way.

But never before has a budget spent so much to achieve so little. When you comb through what was announced last night, when you get beyond all of the spin, all of the self-congratulation, all of the awkwardly posed photographs and all of the headlines, what are Australians actually left with at the end, from this budget that was announced less than 24 hours ago? They are left with two things. They are left with $1.7 trillion of debt and they are left with unemployment which is unacceptably high for, unacceptably, too long. They have nothing to show for $100 billion of new spending and $1.7 trillion of debt, nothing except unemployment, which has been too high for too long.

The important thing, which we on this side of the House understand but those opposite don't seem to understand, is that you don't judge a budget by the headlines it generates; you judge a budget by the jobs and opportunities that it generates and how it shares those opportunities fairly into every single corner of our country. If you sit down and think about what they announced last night and what was proposed—in the near term it might have passed the headlines test, but it hasn't passed the budget test. You judge a budget by jobs and opportunities and what it says about the future, and you judge a government by its ability to understand what's happening to real people in the real communities that we represent, right around Australia—to have enough understanding, empathy and appreciation of the difficulty that people are going through and to actually stand up and say that you will do something about it.

It's quite a remarkable feat that those opposite have managed to rack up more than $1 trillion in debt and yet we expect another 160,000 of our fellow Australians to lose their jobs between now and the end of the year. Remarkably, after all of that spending and all of that spraying money around, they still forecast the unemployment rate to be higher at the end of the four-year forward estimates than it was before any of us had even heard of the coronavirus. It's remarkable that they've sprayed around all that money and racked up more than $1 trillion in debt and they've still managed to leave so many Australians behind. I'll give you one example: 928,000 Australian workers currently on unemployment benefits aren't even eligible for the main policy in the budget, which was the hiring subsidy. They've left 928,000 Australians in the lurch when it comes to that hiring subsidy. They've racked up $1 trillion in debt and they've still found a way, miraculously, to do nothing about social housing, child care, residential aged care, cleaner and cheaper energy and local jobs programs—nothing. It takes a fair bit of effort to rack up more than $1 trillion in debt and still leave all of those crucial policy areas out in the cold.

They've wracked up $1 trillion in debt and still haven't managed to undo the damage done by seven years of incompetence and mismanagement and cuts to vital areas like training but also right across the board. All of that damage, and they want to pretend that those seven years of mismanagement can somehow, miraculously, be explained by the last seven months or so of COVID-19. They've wracked up $1 trillion in debt and still have no plan or vision for the future. There's not even a skerrick of vision in this budget. It's all short-term stuff about getting them through an election and getting them the front page of the paper, but there's nothing which resembles a vision for the future of this country. Most importantly, there's nothing about where real people fit in that vision and what people can expect when it comes to how we spread opportunity in this country, how we give people access to the opportunities that come from a recovering economy. There's nothing at all about that, and it's because they don't understand the impacts of this Morrison recession, the first recession in three decades, the deepest and most damaging recession in almost a century.

They have absolutely no idea what it means for people. They don't know what people are going through. Almost a million are already unemployed, with another 160,000 to come. Unemployment has been too high for too long. People have been left out and left behind. People are worried. Over-35s are worried about not being able to access this hiring subsidy. Maybe they've just copped the JobKeeper cut, with $300 less a fortnight. If they lose their job then they're back to $40 a day, if we take what we saw in the budget last night as the government's plan. That's a pretty bleak future that those opposite have painted for millions of Australians who want nothing more than the chance and the ability to put food on their family's table, to put school shoes on their kids' feet and to pay the rent or the mortgage—not just to get by but to get ahead. These are not unreasonable things that the people that we represent want for themselves and for the people that they love.

The budget fails the future test. It leaves people behind, leaves key policies out and leaves unemployment too high for too long. It forgets to paint a vision for the future. It also did something else really important. It torpedoed for all time, forever, the stupendous dishonesty and the stupendous hypocrisy of almost everything that those opposite have said about debt and deficit over the last dozen or so years. Look at those opposite and think about what they've been saying now for the last 10 or 12 years about debt and deficit. All of that has been completely blown up by the fact that they have now racked up $1.7 trillion in debt, which is more than six times what they inherited when the government changed hands in 2013.

We've heard enough from those opposite—all this rubbish, hypocrisy and dishonesty about what happened during the GFC, what happened in the interim and what's happening now. I don't know how the Treasurer looks at himself in the mirror in the morning, having said all of these things for a decade or more. Forever he will be associated with $1.7 trillion in debt and the deepest and most damaging recession in almost a century.

These same characters have been going around the country for more than a decade now trying to diminish what Australians achieved together in the period under Prime Minister Rudd, Treasurer Swan and the cabinet that contained the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Sydney and others. We say to those opposite: 'Enough of the hypocrisy, enough of the dishonesty and enough of the rubbish about debt and deficit. It's time for you to recognise that much of what you've said over the last decade or so has been completely and utterly wrong.'

In last night's budget there are all the missed opportunities—and the Australian people were expecting more, frankly, during this recession from the government—all of the disappointments, all of the things left out, all the people left behind and all of the unemployment, which has been too high for too long. I think it's really important to remember that before we came into this crisis—and those opposite talk about coming into it from a position of strength—this Prime Minister, the chicken whisperer, and the Treasurer had never in their entire time in their current roles presided over anything near trend growth in the economy. Never—not once—has the Prime Minister or the Treasurer in their current roles gone anywhere near it or a surplus. They doubled the debt. We entered this period from a position of weakness, not strength. That left us vulnerable. It did so in the health area as well. That's why we need a centre for disease control. In the economy in particular all of the mismanagement for seven years has left us exposed and that's why the recession we're in right now is deeper and more damaging than it needs to be and that is why the unemployment queues are longer than they need to be.

We won't recover from this recession the right way unless those opposite recognise that the whole point of a budget is not to attract headlines but to chase jobs. It's about painting a vision for the future and telling people where they fit in that. Australians were prepared to give the government a chance last night. They tuned in to hear what was in it for them. Unfortunately, it was a massive missed opportunity.

3:23 pm

Photo of Michael SukkarMichael Sukkar (Deakin, Liberal Party, Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

There are few people less qualified to critique a budget than the member for Rankin. Every single speech the member for Rankin makes at the dispatch box comes back to one thing—how good the Rudd and Gillard governments were. Every single speech has that conclusion at the bottom. We were so harshly treated. Australians made a big mistake with the glory days of the Rudd and Gillard governments. This shadow Treasurer has absolutely zero credibility when it comes to speaking about budgets, much less critiquing last night's budget.

Not just last night but throughout the extraordinary year of 2020 Australians have seen a government that has cushioned the blow. It's a huge blow. We've levelled with the Australian people and said: 'We can't eliminate the blow, wish it away or in some way imagine it's not there, but we can cushion the blow,' and that's what we have done. Last night the Treasurer, in an outstanding fashion, outlined to Australia the plan to get Australians back to work, the plan to get confidence back into the most important part of the economy that employs eight out of 10 Australians—the private sector. The private sector is the part of the economy that has been completely and utterly devastated by the consequences of the pandemic. Last night, what we saw was a plan to ensure that confidence could return, that Australian businesses could again have the confidence that they need to, in some cases, restart their businesses, to grow their businesses, to invest in their businesses and, most importantly, to employ their fellow Australians.

We are the party of jobs. When we came to government, unemployment was at 5.7 per cent. Just before the pandemic hit in earnest, in February, it was 5.1 per cent. We had the lowest welfare dependency in 30 years. What we outlined to Australians last night was a way to get back. Indeed, in the future, we hope to exceed those expectations that Australians have.

The Labor Party are today somehow trying to mock the budget and mock the spending initiatives and, indeed, mock the budget bottom line, which has been massively hit by the fact that our economy will be significantly smaller, over the medium term certainly, as a result of the pandemic. Implied in that is that somehow the spending initiatives that the government have put in place, again to ensure that we cushion the blow for Australians, are somehow illegitimate. On the one hand the Labor Party say JobKeeper is too generous to some employees; on the other hand they say it's not generous enough to other employees. Again, they're having a bet each way.

Last night, we outlined for Australians a plan to encourage investment in the first instance. Now, the announcement of instant expensing for depreciable assets for businesses with a turnover up to $5 billion—essentially every Australian business bar the largest 40 or 50 Australian businesses—is going to fill the order books of this country. As the Treasurer said in his speech last night, whether it's the trucking company investing in a new fleet, the food production business investing in new plant and equipment or the small cafe investing in a new coffee machine, this will drive investment throughout the economy. Indeed, the feedback we have had, the feedback I had directly from industry overnight, is that it will do exactly that.

Importantly for our economy, giving businesses the incentives, through the tax system, to make those investments improves your productivity, which sees a huge dividend for the economy in the medium to long term. So, yes, this is about jobs today. This is about ensuring that we get as many Australians as possible back into work, get as many Australians as possible doing the hours that they want to do in the short term, but it's also about the productivity benefits into the medium and longer term.

We also announced loss carryback last night, a very generous scheme that will allow for losses for two income years to be offset against taxes paid in the 2018-19 years or later. Now, anybody who understands the tax system will know that, yes, tax losses, in some instances, can be of benefit to a business in the future—(a) the business has got to survive that period that it's making a loss; (b) it has then got to make a gain into the future that it can offset its loss against—but the decision that the government has taken very deliberately is the benefits of those losses are needed in those businesses today. That's why we have provided a very generous loss carryback provision, which I introduced into the parliament this morning. That will mean money in the hands of businesses now. That will also mean, coupled with the instant expensing of depreciable assets uncapped, that more and more businesses will be able to use that cash flow again in a virtuous circle to reinvest into their business, to grow their business, to improve the productivity in their business and, of course, to employ their fellow Australians.

Another thing that I must say is quite remarkable is the criticisms from the opposition on the hiring credit and the very deliberate strategy we have taken to skew that hiring credit to younger Australians. We all know that in difficult economic times it's younger Australians—those people who have less experience in the workforce—who disproportionately feel the impact. We don't need to argue about that. Surely we all agree on that. So the idea that providing a hiring credit, as this government is doing, for those who have been on JobSeeker of $200 a week for those under 30 and $100 a week for those over 30 to encourage employers to take a punt on somebody and to encourage employers to bring them into the business is somehow illegitimate is a shock to me. I'm hopeful that it's just the Labor Party all at sea today, not knowing what to say about the budget when and they have to say something.

I sincerely hope they don't continue down that path, because we don't want 16- to 29-year-olds, particularly the people at the younger end of that cohort, to be the lost generation, as so many people were during Labor's 'recession that we had to have'. I still know many people, including family members, who were scarred by that, particularly those who left school at the time. We are determined to make sure that does not happen here. So we are very proud of the fact that our hiring credit is directed towards younger Australians, and we do not resile from that in any way, shape or form. Another area where we certainly differ—and massively differ—from the member for Rankin, whom nobody takes seriously when talking about budget matters, is bringing forward our personal income tax cuts for 11 million Australians. Within a matter of weeks many millions of Australians will start seeing increases in their pay packets as a result of those tax cuts.

Australians saw very clearly at the last election the DNA of the parties. Our DNA is for lower taxes so that Australians can spend their money better and more effectively and have a better result in the economy than under the Labor Party, who wanted to whack on $387 billion of higher taxes. The Leader of the Opposition is running away from any questions about whether he stands by those taxes. Well, last night was a demonstration that we have faith that the Australian people can spend their money better than any government, and in fact now is the time when they need it. And there will be benefits to the broader economy because of it. Increasing demand in the economy and increasing consumption is going to support and work in concert with the other measures we put in place to support small, medium and large businesses in this economy.

As I said in question time, we have made another investment in supporting Australians into their first home through expanding the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. If there's one thing that I want the Morrison government to be remembered for it is that we have facilitated more Australians into new homes than any government in recent history, and last night was another step along that path. So nobody listens to the member for Rankin, trying to review history in this way. (Time expired)

3:33 pm

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

What an extraordinary week in Australian politics. The party that has campaigned for 13 years against debt and deficit has delivered the biggest deficit and the most astronomical debt in our nation's history—not by a little bit, but by a lot. You'd expect that if you were going to rack up a trillion dollars in debt you'd be able to deliver a little bit of vision for the nation. What we saw yesterday was a trillion dollars worth of debt but not 10c worth of vision for the country. Unemployment is going up. Between now and Christmas, an additional 160,000 Australians are going to find themselves in the unemployment queue. You'd expect, if that were going to happen, the government would be doing something to help support them, but at the very time that unemployment is going to reach its highest point in over a decade, they're cutting support for the unemployed, and snapping back to $40 a day.

The chronic neglect in our aged-care system laid bare by the royal commission remains. The cost of child care, which is perhaps the biggest barrier to improving the participation rate and getting women back into the workforce, remains. And older workers are left more vulnerable because of a poorly designed wage incentive scheme. I heard the Assistant Treasurer say a moment ago that somehow our criticism of this point means that we're against younger workers. They have missed the point completely. What they have done is pit one group of workers against another. The job of a government with a vision for the country is to unite the people and bring the country together. What they have done is pit one group of workers against another, and they can't even see it. There's been lots of money spent and lots of debt racked up, but there is no vision for the future and no path forward. You'd think a government that racked up a trillion dollars worth of debt could do something about our roads and our infrastructure in this country. There is a trillion dollars worth of debt but, if you look at the state of New South Wales alone, not one cent has been spent on roads south of the Engadine McDonald's. It's a travesty.

I want to say something about the manufacturing industry. I come from a region with a proud history in manufacturing. We were led to believe before the budget that there was going to be some big announcement and a great step forward for Australian manufacturing. Little did we know that this was just going to be another one of the Prime Minister's marketing opportunities. Sure, he knows where the Port Kembla Steelworks are. He went down there for a photo-op and made an announcement that had nothing to do with the Port Kembla Steelworks and had everything to do with a town 200 kilometres to the north. This guy is a marketing genius but has absolutely nothing to deliver when it comes to substance.

I want to talk about the future of the steel industry. We are a trillion dollars in debt, but there is no vision for the future of the steel industry. Australia is the largest exporter of iron ore in the world.

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

We are one of the largest exporters of iron ore in the world, yet we produce but a fraction of the world's steel. The largest steelworks in this country—an excellent steelworks by today's standards—is in my region in Port Kembla. Some countries have a vision for the future of steel. This year, a few weeks ago, in Sweden—

Honourable members interjecting

Photo of Llew O'BrienLlew O'Brien (Wide Bay, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Whitlam will pause. The member for Sydney, I'm trying to listen to the member making a contribution. Both the member for Ryan and the member for Sydney can please cease the interjections. They are getting too loud and distracting. The member for Whitlam has the call.

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

There are some countries that have a vision for the future of the steel industry. This country is not one of them. We call this the Morrison government recession. It's not because they created the virus. They're not responsible for its spread, but they are responsible for their poor decisions which are making this recession deeper, longer and harsher for the millions of Australians who are out of work or doing it tough today. (Time expired)

3:38 pm

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party, Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education) Share this | | Hansard source

Seven hundred thousand—that's the number of jobs that this government has saved. And here's another figure for you: 950,000. That's how many jobs will be created over the next four years thanks to this budget. This government will deliver 950,000 new jobs, thanks to the measures in last night's budget.

I was pretty appalled by the member for Rankin's contribution earlier on. It a very passionless and pedestrian display. I don't think he believed it himself. It was almost laughable when he tried to take us on that trip down memory lane to the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years, the glory days, the salad days of Labor. Really? You don't have to go very far down that lane to realise what it was. It was the boulevard of broken dreams—pink batts; overpriced school halls; all of that mismanagement and chaos. Before that we had the recession that we had to have, and there are some of us in this place who still remember it. We still remember how bad it was when families were sitting around their dining room tables and their kitchen tables talking about how they were going to pay their 17 per cent mortgage rates.

If you want to go down memory lane, let's go there, and we'll let Australians know how bad it was. The reality is that Australians have always trusted this side of politics to get them through the economic difficulties, the economic tough times. That's the way it's always been in this country, and last night's budget makes it certain. Australians, again, can put their faith in the Liberal-National government to deliver them through the economic storm, to get them through to the other side, with great new policies, including the JobMaker hiring credit. I think that's something that's really going to resonate right around country Australia, in particular, because at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we saw the queues that were starting to form around Centrelink. So many of them were the young people.

We know that often it's the younger generations that come out of a recession the slowest. Youth unemployment rates are generally higher, particularly in certain areas around our great country. So they need our support, and we're giving it to them. We're not only giving the folks on JobSeeker, our young people on JobSeeker, support but it's those apprentices as well through our Apprentice Wage Subsidy scheme. That's going to be a real boon for country Australia, getting tradies into work—not only getting people into work but training the future workforce of tomorrow, which is so vital for country Australia and so vital for building strong and vibrant regions. That's what this budget delivers.

With the JobMaker hiring credit alone you're talking around 450,000 jobs for young people, and the policies that bring us those jobs just keep on coming. Look at the tax relief for workers: 50,000 new jobs it is estimated that policy will deliver. Hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next few years will be delivered by this budget. Yes, it has been a very difficult time for regional Australia—you would know that better than anyone, Deputy Speaker O'Brien—but, through this suite of policies, our regions are uniquely placed to lead our nation out of COVID-19. Have a look at the instant asset write-off. Over 99 per cent—

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Llew O'BrienLlew O'Brien (Wide Bay, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The minister will pause. The level of conversation in the back there needs to be lowered, thanks. I'm having trouble hearing the contribution by the minister. The minister has the call.

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party, Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education) Share this | | Hansard source

They're probably talking about how bad it was during those Keating and Hawke years with the 17 per cent mortgage rates. They know how bad it was. Back to the instant asset write-off. The member for Fisher remembers! The instant asset write-off is really going to turbocharge investment right across Australia, particularly in country Australia where it's been very warmly received. My office has already had some very encouraging messages. I've had people texting me saying, 'That is a game changer for country Australia!'

The manufacturing policy, targeting areas such as food processing, is so important in central western New South Wales and great cities like Bathurst and the Cabonne area. It is the food basket of this nation. There'll be a huge turbocharging of infrastructure. There'll be a further $14 billion in new and accelerated infrastructure projects, which will support a further 40,000 jobs, including the famed crossing at Dixons Long Point—$9.8 million. They've been trying to get that up for 160 years. Australians know who to trust with the economy, and they can place their trust in us and be assured that we'll get them through. (Time expired)

3:44 pm

Photo of Linda BurneyLinda Burney (Barton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

The budget that was delivered last night has left so many people behind. When you have a look at the Aboriginal affairs part of the budget—or the lack of it—there is nothing for additional remote Indigenous housing. There is nothing for services to close the gap and no additional money for closing the gap, except some money to go for administration and some money to go towards a dashboard going to the Productivity Commission. That will not help Aboriginal people at the grassroots, community level. There is very little in there for women and nothing for DV, domestic violence, in a real sense. Not one additional bed has been delivered in this budget. And, of course, the list goes on.

But the most egregious thing is what has been done in the JobSeeker area. Nine hundred thousand people on JobSeeker have been left behind. If you're over the age of 35, which the bulk of people on JobSeeker are, you simply do not get a look in. This is an incredibly short-sighted way that the government has handled this. People on JobSeeker have received no security, no comfort at all, from this budget. They still don't know what's going to happen to them after the end of December. There was no announcement in relation to a permanent increase to JobSeeker. So we are assuming it will snap back, as the member for Whitlam said, to $40 a day once the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement finishes.

I do welcome, of course, younger people being a focus of the budget, but it can't be just that and the ignoring of 900,000 people, understanding that the unemployment queues are going to grow on the government's watch and by the government's own admission by about 160,000 by the end of the year. The fact that there is nothing there, particularly in terms of people over the age of 35, is just astounding, and I know this because we've done the research. What's really galling about that is that the bulk of people on JobSeeker over the age of 35 are women. That is the biggest cohort of people on JobSeeker. Women on JobSeeker who are in rental situations are in absolutely dire circumstances.

There is no plan in this budget to support Australians who have lost their jobs. And, as I have said, over 900,000 people on JobSeeker will be excluded from help. In fact, it's 928,000 people on JobSeeker that will be excluded from help. That just seems to me to be incredibly short-sighted. How is that going to give people confidence to go forward? How is that going to give people, who have often been stuck on JobSeeker for a very long time because of things like age discrimination, confidence? If you are on JobSeeker and you're over the age of 60, you have very little chance, because of those pressures, of getting another job. There was nothing in the budget last night to give those people any hope or any feeling that they are being thought about by this particular government.

Let's be clear: the people on JobSeeker are probably the most vulnerable people within our society. They have a precarious future. They have to make choices between feeding themselves and their children—if they have them—and medication and rent. It's not an academic exercise for those people. They know where every single cent of their money is or is not. And we had a budget last night that made them the least priority of all. There was no priority in the government's thinking about that particular group of people. When you think about the fact that 900,000 Australians, nearly a million Australians, have been ignored by this government, it's a travesty and it's absolutely unfair.

3:49 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The MPI today is indeed a matter of public importance because it has shown the stark difference between the Labor Party opposite and this coalition government. By talking down our economic recovery plan, delivered last night, Labor have shown Australians today that they are against building the economy so that we all get ahead; they are against providing incentives to businesses so they can recover, grow and employ more people; they are against job-creating incentives for our young people; and they are against Australians having lower taxes so they can keep more of what they earn. Labor are once again, both in the chamber today and in the Australian community, abandoning the workers of Australia.

Last night, the Treasurer released the 2020 federal budget and the Morrison government's economic recovery plan for Australia. The economic recovery plan is all about creating jobs, keeping Australians in jobs and supporting our local families. Only the Labor Party could be so blinded by ideological hatred that they don't see Australians are doing it tough because of the COVID recession. It is the most severe global economic crisis since the Great Depression. Across the world an equivalent of 600 million people have lost their jobs, and Australia is not immune from this. But Australia's health and economic response have been the envy of the world, and there are many aspects of this recovery plan, announced last night, from which our families can draw confidence for the future. JobKeeper, the cashflow boost and the JobSeeker safety net have all worked together to save 700,000 jobs. We could do this because, as a government, we entered this crisis in a position of economic strength with a budget that we brought back into balance for the first time in 11 years. Of course, the Australian people already knew this. They knew that, when they elected this government at the last election, under the leadership of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, we would be able to manage our economy to cover the case of shocks like this. And thank goodness they made that decision and that the Australian economy was not lumbered with Labor's $387 billion in extra taxes when we took on this crisis and the rebuilding projects that we need.

Last night, the Treasurer spoke about how this budget is a budget that reflects our values, and it does just that—the values of personal responsibility, reward for effort, the power of aspiration. We are guided by these values, and the Labor members opposite are guided only by their desire for new taxes. We will do as we have done before—grow our economy, create new jobs and get our economy back on track. We will do it by backing the private sector. We will provide them with the much-needed kickstart they need to do what they do best—create jobs. It's business that creates jobs and it's this budget and this government that are helping to create the opportunity for businesses to rebuild and to succeed.

The $4 billion JobMaker hiring credit will be payable for up to 12 months for each new job to employers who hire eligible employees aged 16 to 35. Treasury estimates that this will support around 450,000 jobs for young people. Our JobMaker Plan includes the establishment of the $1 billion JobTrainer Fund to create 340,000 jobs or low-cost training places for school leavers and jobseekers. Under this budget, 950,000 new jobs will be created by the government in the next four years—950,000! A job isn't just a pay cheque. It's security for your family, it's opportunity and it's independence. It's the ability to give your kids opportunities and make decisions for your family that will see them reach their full potential. Creating these jobs, creating these opportunities for our families, is the core purpose of this government, and nothing Labor says will sway us from this endeavour.

It is remarkable that the Labor opposition, who love their high-taxing, anti-business agenda so much, could stand in this place and not back a plan that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the Australian people and the Australian community. But, of course, they have form. They are doing just that in my state of Queensland, once the powerhouse state of our nation. Even before COVID, I saw Premier Palaszczuk and dodgy Jackie rack up the worst unemployment rate in the entire nation. Luckily, Queenslanders have a choice, in just 24 days time, to vote in the LNP and Deb Frecklington to do exactly what this government is doing, and that is to create jobs— (Time expired)

3:54 pm

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] What we see in the budget that was delivered last night is over a trillion dollars in Liberal debt and still too many Australians left behind. Sadly, what we're seeing from this Morrison recession, the worst since the Great Depression, is over one million Australians currently unemployed, and, even with over a trillion dollars of debt, 160,000 more Australians are likely to lose their jobs.

What did we see? We saw a whole bunch of grab-bag announcements. We saw a whole heap of short-term things—a whole heap of reannouncements. But, really, what we didn't see was telling. How do you spend billions and billions more, have a trillion dollars of debt and have no new funding for frontline domestic and family violence services? How do you spend that and do nothing to address the gender pay gap? How do you have a trillion dollars in debt and have nothing on superannuation or about retirement incomes for women? How do you spend billions of dollars and do nothing new on child care? How do you spend billions of dollars and do nothing on social housing? How do you spend billions of dollars and not have any new money for residential aged care, when we have seen what the COVID outbreak has done in residential aged care in Australia?

It is shameful that this government has managed to find over $100 billion in new spending and has left all these critical areas out. It has, of course, as I said in my question in question time today, left far too many women behind. What we needed to see from the government was a plan for the future—a vision, an integrated plan that actually talks about what the role is for all Australians as we recover from what has occurred with the COVID outbreak and as we come out of this Morrison recession. That is not what we saw last night.

I am particularly concerned about the older Australians who were left out of last night's budget. When we look at the royal commission's recommendations, the first recommendation was to fix the home care package waiting list. The government has had the interim report for more than a year. We had 100,000 older Australians waiting then. Here we are, 12 months on, and we still have over 100,000 older Australians waiting for aged care. What did we see in the budget? There are to be 23,000 home care packages delivered over four years. What we have also seen, and what has been revealed recently by the government, is that more than 10,000 older Australians are dying every year without the home care packages that they have been approved for. By the time these new home care packages are delivered, more older Australians will have died waiting for the packages they never get. It is shameful. Once the government called this royal commission—they go on about it all time—it was the very first recommendation of the royal commissioners. It was the very first thing they told the government to do a year ago. Sadly, the government are saying they're going to wait for the final report in February next year. That will be too late for far too many older Australians.

I also want to take this opportunity to pass on my sympathies and condolences to the families of the more than 670 older Australians who have died in residential aged care during the COVID outbreak. I'm sure that everybody in this place joins me when I say they have our deepest, deepest sympathy. We are very concerned that the royal commission report into the outbreak of COVID-19 that was handed down last week was done in the early stages of what happened in Victoria, yet we saw again last night no significant investment from the government in the first recommendation from the royal commission about COVID, which was about more staff. The government haven't even done that; instead, they're saying they're waiting until February. How many more older Australians are going to die in residential aged care because this government did not do its job?

It is simply not good enough, when far too many women are being left behind, when far too many older Australians are being left behind and when far too many Australians generally have been left behind by this budget. The government has managed to spend hundreds of billions more and we are over a trillion dollars in debt. The real question is going to be: what are we going to have to show for it when all this is over and we have generations who will have to repay this government's debt? We need to ensure the money is well spent, and it is not going to be, we can rest assured of that, given their past history. We need to make sure that we have as few people unemployed as possible for as short a time as possible. Sadly, the government is going to fail in that regard, and I am very concerned for all those Australians who have lost their jobs during this recession and the 160,000 Australians who, according to the budget papers, are going to lose their jobs between now and the next budget. (Time expired)

3:59 pm

Photo of Julian LeeserJulian Leeser (Berowra, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Labor Party has the temerity to come in here today and lecture us about job creation. This from a party that gave us the recession we had to have—unlike this recession, created by a global pandemic, a recession created by policy decisions of the then Keating government, a recession that gave us 11 per cent unemployment and 34 per cent youth unemployment, a recession for which the response from the Keating government at the time wasn't the sort of positive plans that we saw last night from the Treasurer, wasn't the sort of 'let's get people into jobs' approach of the Morrison government. It was instead a 'wash our hands of the situation, it's all too hard' approach. The employment minister during the Keating recession—and the minister at the table is right to remind us of this history—to quote from a journalist at the time, 'Didn't seem to be putting his heart and soul into the portfolio.' Another journalist, who later went to work for him, said 'The greatest ambition harboured by the highly relieved minister was a change in portfolio from employment—read unemployment.'

They didn't have their eye on the job. The Prime Minister at the time, Paul Keating, didn't have his eye on the job in terms of fixing the unemployment problem. He was padding around the Lodge in his pyjamas, listening to Mahler and coming up with insults for question time rather than focusing on unemployment. We have heard from him recently. The Labor Party in those days used to call him 'captain wacky'. Well, wacky is back and he has a new tax—and his tax is a death tax. I can tell you that most of those opposite have him on speed dial, so you can add the death tax to the $387 billion of new taxes they took to the last election. The truth is that the Labor Party has an abysmal record on employment. Keating himself, in the middle of that recession, famously told a group of students, 'Go get a job.' That's the Labor Party, in the depths of a recession, that's the Labor Party when they are dealing with issues to do with job creation.

There could not be a greater contrast than that between the Labor Party and the Keating government and the Morrison government and what we've done in relation to employment. Everything we have done since the start of our government, but particularly since the start of the pandemic, has been focused on job creation. JobSeeker and JobKeeper have created over 700,000 jobs—760,000 jobs have been created since the pandemic started. Sixty per cent of those jobs were for women. Many of the measures in last night's budget were focused on job creation. The JobMaker hiring credit is at the centre of this. It's very important that we get young people who find themselves unemployed into work as soon as possible, because history demonstrates that the longer a person is unemployed at the start of their career the harder it is for them to get into employment and to stay in employment longer term. That's why the hiring credit is so important. It's a program that will create 450,000 jobs. The increase in JobTrainer, which will create 100,000 new apprenticeships, with a 50 per cent wage subsidy, provides new jobs and a pathway to jobs for people. The tax relief for 11 million taxpayers will create 50,000 jobs, as a result of the new economic activity. The instant asset write-off and the loss carry-back provisions will create an additional 50,000 jobs. The infrastructure investments—the increase on the 100,000 jobs in infrastructure investments we have already created—will create an additional 40,000 jobs. The increased home ownership from the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and the HomeBuilder program that we have previously announced, will create more jobs in the housing construction sector.

These programs are all focused on job creation. So, to hear from the Labor Party that we are not focused on job creation, that we are not putting all of our efforts into giving businesses the opportunity to focus on job creation, to give businesses the tools they need to employ people, is just laughable. It's laughable particularly at a time when it shouldn't be laughable, when we are dealing with the greatest economic crisis Australia has faced since the Great Depression. Our response has been focused on how we get Australians back into jobs. The totality of last night's budget measures will create 950,000 new jobs. These are jobs that are important for Australians, important for our recovery and important for our future.

4:04 pm

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

In 2009, the coalition launched their so-called debt truck. It had on the side of it the figure at which debt was then projected to peak—$315 billion. That's a third of projected peak debt under the Liberals today. If they were being honest then with this budget they would have launched their very own debt road train. What does Australia get for $1 trillion—a one with 12 zeros after it? We don't get the solutions to the economic problems that predated coronavirus.

Last year productivity was going backwards. Wage growth was among the worst on record. We had problems in retail spending, in construction. New car sales were down. Business investment was in the doldrums. So from this budget we need some big aspirations. When Curtin and Chifley sat down towards the end of World War II and thought about what the postwar era needed, they didn't say, 'Let's put the place back together the way it was in 1939.' And similarly today our aspiration should be higher than the economy of 2019.

Last year we were in the Morrison stagnation. This year we're in the Morrison recession. We need to do better than both. We need to recognise that COVID-19 has been a huge hit to human capital. Of course, it's got the physical health impact, but it's got the mental health impact as well. It's hurt education, particularly among disadvantaged students who have gone from being three years behind to, perhaps, four years behind. In workplaces we've seen what economists call 'automation forcing', as firms have invested in machines, displacing workers and potentially making it harder to get unemployment back down again.

The right response to these challenges would've been to invest in education. Labor's always recognised that technology and education have to go together. Two of my favourite economists, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, say you can think about inequality as being like a race between education and technology. When you have them both running ahead you get growth with equity. When technology advances ahead of education then the gap widens. Low-skilled workers get left behind. That's a real risk for Australia, not just because of the automation forcing that I talked about before but because we've had our test scores going backwards under PISA. We've had a halving in the number of apprenticeships and traineeships. We've had a recapping of university places. It's harder than it used to be for a talented young person to win a spot at university.

What we've seen out of this budget is huge incentive for capital investment, an instant asset write-off which is going to cost the budget some $27 billion. The fact is that if you do that without investing in skills then you risk leaving workers behind. The workers who are going to be most at risk of being left behind are the over 35s. They're seeing their JobKeeper cut. They're seeing JobSeeker going back to $40 a day at the end of this year. They're seeing young workers who come with a wage subsidy for their employer. Fifty-four per cent of jobs are vulnerable to automation. There's a real risk that under this budget that older workers will be left behind. Between now and the end of the year 160,000 people are forecast to lose their jobs, yet JobKeeper is being cut. One trillion dollars and there's no plan for tackling insecure work, very little for child care, nothing substantial for climate change.

The women's economic package is pretty much what you'd expect from a prime minister who names his chooks after former Prime Ministers' wives. This is a government that has delivered sports rorts, reef rorts, Helloworld, Paladin, robodebt, 'DividendKeeper', 'BonusKeeper' and 'watergate', so it's not surprising that Australians don't trust it to not engage in further pork-barrelling. Hope is not a plan. Despite over $1 trillion of debt, the 2020 budget doesn't set up Australia for a productive and egalitarian future.

4:09 pm

Photo of Melissa McIntoshMelissa McIntosh (Lindsay, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It's absolutely fantastic that those opposite have given us the opportunity to talk about what we do best: creating jobs and keeping people in jobs. Thank you. Last week, I stood with members of my community on Dunheved Road and announced an extra $63½ million, which is in this federal budget, bringing the total amount the Morrison government is contributing to Dunheved Road to $127 million. This is such an important project for our community, because it gets people to work and home again more safely and more quickly and, very importantly, it creates local jobs.

Our economic recovery depends on infrastructure and policies that create jobs. At a local level, I've been working hard to connect our students to the jobs of the future, in industries like manufacturing, in my Lindsay Jobs of the Future Forum. It gives us an opportunity to connect schools with universities and business and to ensure that our children are educated and trained for the jobs that are coming to Western Sydney. In Lindsay, we know that the pathways to those jobs of the future are in emerging industries and also through apprenticeships. I've visited many local manufacturers in Western Sydney—like Grant Engineered in Emu Plains, who have four young apprentices learning from the best and gaining valuable skills and experience.

The Morrison government is providing 100,000 new apprenticeships to support the next generation of skilled workers and to help jobseekers reskill and get back into work. This $1.2 billion boosting apprenticeship commencements wage subsidy will help more companies like Grant Engineered to take on apprentices. This comes on the back of our $2.8 billion supporting apprentices and trainees package, now expected to support 90,000 employers to keep 180,000 apprentices and trainees in employment and training. This is all about jobs. Many of these apprentices will go on to contribute to the new era in Australian manufacturing, which will play such an important role in our economic recovery.

I established the Advancing Manufacturing Taskforce to unlock opportunities that will put Western Sydney at the forefront of the new era and to address any barriers to that. The measures announced in the budget are a win for manufacturers in my electorate of Lindsay, with a range of support to make them more competitive and to create those local jobs. We're investing $1.5 billion over four years for the Modern Manufacturing Strategy and $1.3 billion to support projects within our six national manufacturing priorities. These are critical minerals processing and resources technology; medical products—and I know that many manufacturers across Lindsay put up their hands during the coronavirus pandemic to manufacture critical supplies and medical products; defence industry; space industry—again, there's a growing space industry in Western Sydney, with the building of the Western Sydney International Airport, and I look forward to our children having the opportunities of the jobs in this emerging space industry; clean energy and recycling; and food and beverage products. We're also expanding the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, and I know that many businesses across Western Sydney, as well as Western Sydney University, took advantage of this fund. There's $100 million for the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative to address and identify our supply chain vulnerabilities. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that we need to harness our own strengths, particularly in supply chains, when it comes to manufacturing. This will support businesses in Lindsay like SpanSet, Solution Design Group, Pandrol and J Sinclair Engineering.

The $5.3 billion investment in the Western Sydney airport and aerotropolis precinct will create a hub for emerging industries in advanced manufacturing, defence industry, research, medicine and more. It couldn't be more about jobs, what's going on in Western Sydney, and I'm so proud of the work that we are doing there. These skills reforms will contribute to supporting the creation of local jobs for local people so that people don't have to commute long hours out of our community every single day. Three hundred thousand people currently commute from Western Sydney to their job.

There are nearly 15,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Lindsay. Every day, hardworking families invest their time and energy, do long hours and don't ask for much in return. That's why last night we announced—

Photo of Llew O'BrienLlew O'Brien (Wide Bay, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The time for the debate has concluded.