House debates

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Questions without Notice


2:20 pm

Photo of Julian HillJulian Hill (Bruce, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to the 28 times the government used their new 'comeback' slogan in question time yesterday, though there have been only seven today. Can the Treasurer confirm his department's evidence to the Senate that the slogan came from an advertising agency and that taxpayers are being slugged $15 million to put the slogan on bus shelters and billboards? How many of the nearly one million unemployed Australians would have a job if the government spent more time on jobs and less time on marketing and slogans?

2:24 pm

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

I thank the member for another dorothy dixer, because the comeback is happening! The Australian economy is coming back. The economic recovery is underway and this economic recovery, this comeback, belongs to the Australian people. The economy is coming back because of the hard work of millions of Australians right across the country and because of the measures that we on this side of the House have supported, like JobKeeper, which supported 3.6 million Australians in September; like JobSeeker, which effectively doubled the safety net; like the cash flow boost, which has provided working capital to businesses right across the country; like our two $750 payments to millions of pensioners; and like our HomeBuilder program, which has provided a spark to ignite the housing industry. Today, in the national accounts, dwelling investment was up 0.6 per cent after eight consecutive quarterly falls.

This is what we're seeing across the economy. The jobs are coming back and economic activity is gaining pace. Now, the AAA credit rating of the government has been reaffirmed. We've heard the Governor of the Reserve Bank himself talk about how the Morrison government's economic response has been the right response. We saw yesterday that building approvals were up by 3.8 per cent and by 14 per cent through the year. We saw capital city house prices up by 0.7 per cent—the first time we've seen house prices up across all capital cities since the start of the pandemic. We've seen consumer confidence up in 12 of the last 13 weeks. Every economic indicator points to the resilience of the Australian economy, and we know that the jobs are coming back. Of those Australians who either lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero at the start of the crisis, 80 per cent are now back at work. This economic recovery, this comeback, belongs to every Australian.