House debates

Monday, 9 November 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID 19: Economy

2:41 pm

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

My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer explain to the House how the Morrison government's uniquely Australian approach to responding to the COVID-19 recession will help create jobs, rebuild our economy and secure Australia's future? 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 his question and acknowledge his experience in the higher education sector and local government and his strong advocacy on the issue of mental health. The member for Berowra understands, as we on this side of the House understand, that the Australian economy has been hit by a once-in-a-century economic shock. One point three million Australians either lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero early on in this pandemic. Around 600 million people globally have lost their jobs through this pandemic, and the global economy is expected to contract by around 4.4 per cent this calendar year compared to just 0.1 per cent during the GFC.

The government's economic support has helped get people back into work. Consumer confidence has been up nine weeks in a row. Consumer sentiment has had its biggest jump in a budget month, at 11.9 per cent, since the series first began in 1974, and our AAA credit rating has been reaffirmed. Last week, the Governor of the Reserve Bank made some important announcements about lowering the cost of borrowing and targeting bond yields.

But the ink was barely dry on the RBA statement before the member for Rankin hopped on his bike—training wheels and all, I have to add—pedalled as fast as he could, and went to do a press conference before the Governor of the Reserve Bank had even spoken. This is what the member for Rankin said:

… the Reserve Bank has obviously concluded that the Morrison government has not done enough in their Budget …

So to the Governor of the Reserve Bank, at his press conference, was put exactly that accusation by the member for Rankin, and this is what the Governor of the Reserve Bank had to say: 'No, that's not what we're saying,' and:

The government's strategy is the right one … it would be completely incorrect to draw the conclusion that this is a judgement on the government's fiscal strategy … the government's on the right track …'

What a slap-down! The member for Rankin would be best advised to leave his bike in the shed, unless he can learn to ride it without training wheels!