House debates

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID 19: Economy

2:20 pm

Photo of James StevensJames Stevens (Sturt, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline to the House how the Morrison government's strong economic leadership is helping the Australian economy recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic? And is the Treasurer aware of any alternative approaches?

2:21 pm

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Sturt for his question and acknowledge his time in the wool industry and acknowledge his time working in government. And, unlike the previous member for Sturt, this member for Sturt gets his own lemon when he has a G&T!

This member for Sturt and others on this side of the House understand that the economic recovery is now underway: 446,000 jobs have been created in the last four months, 60 per cent of which have gone to women and 40 per cent of which have gone to young people. We saw consumer sentiment numbers increase by 11.9 per cent this month—the single largest increase in a budget month since the series first began in 1974. We've seen our AAA credit rating reaffirmed. And Australia is one of only nine countries in the world to have a AAA credit rating from the three leading agencies. Consumer confidence has now increased eight weeks in a row, coming back to where it was in the early March period.

Our economic support measures have helped keep Australians in work and saved 700,000 Australian jobs: JobKeeper, JobSeeker, the $750 cash payments and, of course, the cash flow boost, which has supported the working capital of businesses. I had the good fortune to join the member for Sturt in his electorate at Hibernia Cafe in Magill, to catch up with James and the other staff at that cafe and to see firsthand how the economic recovery is underway in South Australia and, indeed, across the country. That business had used JobKeeper, that business had used the cash flow boost and that business was now graduating out of JobKeeper, with the customers coming back as the virus had been suppressed.

In the budget was the next phase of our economic recovery plan, a plan which will see the creation of nearly one million new jobs in the next few years. Of course, in that budget were tax cuts for 11½ million Australians. In that budget were further investments in research and development; in apprentices; in training programs like the JobTrainer program; and in the JobMaker hiring credit, which is designed to help those aged 16 to 35 move from the unemployment queue into work. That's what our budget was about—creating jobs across the Australian economy. The economic recovery is underway, and Australians can have hope about their economic future.