House debates

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Economy

2:22 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (Wentworth, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline to the House how Australia's unique response to the COVID-19 pandemic is helping families and supporting businesses while ensuring our economy recovers in the face of challenging international conditions; and is the Treasurer aware of any alternative policies?

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

I thank the member for Wentworth for his question and acknowledge he was a distinguished diplomat for Australia and has extensive experience in the private sector as a champion for the technology transition underway—and I congratulate the member for Wentworth on winning the seat of Wentworth again for the coalition. He, like others on this side of the House, understands that Australia has faced a once-in-a-century pandemic, and in response the Morrison government has provided economic support like none other—the JobKeeper program; the JobSeeker program:, the cash flow boost; $750 payments to pensioners, carers and others on income support. In total, when you include balance sheet support and direct fiscal economic support, that's $507 billion, or around 26 per cent of GDP, and our support has helped save 700,000 jobs.

The economic recovery is now underway. There were 446,000 jobs created over the last four months, 60 per cent of which went to women and 40 per cent of which went to young people. Consumer confidence, now up eight weeks in a row, is back to the levels it was in early March. Consumer sentiment is up 11.9 per cent in this month, the single biggest increase in a budget month since the series first began in 1974. And I can inform the House that today the NAB business survey on business conditions was out, and it was up for the September quarter by 22 points, up across all sectors, and particularly strong in manufacturing, in retail and in transport.

I had the opportunity to visit the member for Wentworth's electorate and to see firsthand the economic recovery underway. We went to the Blair Street cafe in Bondi, and it was thriving. There were people at the cafe like you haven't seen in months. He had previously used JobKeeper to support his staff, but now, with the customers coming back, he was transitioning off JobKeeper. This is the economic recovery that is now being undertaken across the country as a result of the virus being suppressed, the jobs coming back and the economic support from the Morrison government.

In the budget there were additional measures like tax cuts for more than 11½ million people, infrastructure projects being brought forward, skills and training support for apprentices and the JobMaker hiring credit. On this side of the House we're in favour of creating more jobs, and that is what our record shows.