Thursday, 8 October 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Australians over the age of 50 who have lost their jobs may spend the rest of their working lives unemployed. They've been locked out of the government's hiring credit announcement and, by Christmas, their JobSeeker payment will be cut to $40 a day. Why is this government racking up a trillion dollars of Liberal debt while punishing older workers who've lost their jobs?
I thank the member for the question, but I have to ask him: why hasn't he got the faintest idea what he's talking about? He seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that it was our government that started the $10,000 Restart wage subsidy, which, to this day, continues to be funded. It helps eligible jobseekers who are aged over 50 and have been on income support for six months. They get a $10,000 wage subsidy to get back into work if they're over 50. It's called the Restart wage subsidy, and it has ensured that 50,000 people have been able to get back into work. There are just under 3,000 people who are specifically in employment right now under that wage subsidy. It has helped 50,000 people over the age of 50 to get back into work. We continue to support those of all ages to get back into work. We are doing that, whether it is through the Restart wage subsidy or the JobMaker Hiring Credit. But, importantly, it is being done through a budget that is an economic recovery plan to get hundreds of thousands of Australians back into work in the middle of this crisis.
For those who still remain in a position where their industries or their areas of the country have been impacted because of the COVID-19 recession, JobMaker continues until the end of March. I've made it extremely clear that as we get closer to the end of this year the government will assess the ongoing arrangements when it comes to the COVID-19 supplement. We've made that abundantly clear. What the government is doing now is paying a higher level of jobseeker support than has ever been provided by any government at any time, including when those in opposition sat on these benches during the GFC. They didn't put this arrangement in place, but our government did, and it remains for as long as it is needed in order to ensure that Australians get the support they need. Whether you're over 50 or under 50, whether you're over 35 or under 35, whether you're male or female, whether you live in a regional area, whether you live in the bush, whether you live in the suburbs, whether you live in the middle of a city—wherever you are in this country, this government has your back. That is what the budget this week is about: having the back of Australians in the middle of the biggest recession we have seen since the Great Depression, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Australians know that this government has stepped up and will continue to step up to support Australia's citizens— (Time expired)