Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID 19: Economy
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on how the Morrison government's plans to continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will focus on building our economic strength in the year ahead so we can continue creating jobs, opportunities and certainty for Australian businesses and workers?
I thank the member for Ryan for his question. He knows, as I think most Australians now do, that the economic comeback in this country is underway. It began last year. Some 90 per cent of the jobs that were lost over the course of the terrible COVID-19 recession and pandemic have come back into the economy. Australians are joining that recovery by voting with their feet, with participation in our workforce rising again back to record highs. That has led the Governor of the Reserve Bank to say that 'in Australia, the economic recovery is well underway and has been stronger' and earlier 'than expected'. The Governor of the Reserve Bank said:
These outcomes have been underpinned by Australia's success on the health front and the very significant fiscal and monetary support.
A hallmark of the economic recovery plan has been the absolute synchronisation of fiscal and monetary policy, and I thank the Reserve Bank for the way that the governor and the board have worked closely with Treasury to ensure that our economic recovery plan has been so closely aligned. This has included measures like the HomeBuilder program. Today we read that housing building approval figures are the highest on record. At a time of a great pandemic, at a time of a COVID-19 recession, the interventions by this government have been targeted and proportionate and have ensured that those jobs would be there. As we looked into the abyss of this pandemic last March, we knew that we would need to take actions urgently in a range of sectors, but particularly in the residential construction industry. And here we see, in housing building approvals, people responding to be part of this comeback. But the delivery of the vaccines is critical over the course of this year—the delivery of safe, accessible, effective vaccines, TGA approved by the finest regulatory agency for vaccines anywhere in the world. There are 140 million doses secured by the great work of the minister for health and the secretary of health, Professor Murphy, with a sovereign capability to produce those vaccines here, a sovereign capability that so many countries around the world are envious of, with over 1,000 distribution points, linking in pharmacists, GPs, hospitals, respiratory clinics, and a clear priority for the rollout.
As I was able to advise the Pacific leaders who we joined with in the Pacific Islands Forum today, and it continues as we speak, there will also be $200 million to invest in supporting them for the full rollout of vaccines, working with the French government and the United States government to ensure vaccines for all of our Pacific family, from the Micronesian states right across Polynesia. In this part of the world, we're looking after our family when it comes to the vaccines.