Thursday, 4 February 2021
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Lindsay for her question and acknowledge her experience working in the not-for-profit sector before coming to this place and for working with those on this side of the House to deliver tax cuts to more than 80,000 taxpayers in the electorate of Lindsay.
Yesterday, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia gave a very significant speech at the Press Club. He said that the economic recovery was happening 'earlier and stronger' than first forecast. He talked about the strength of the housing market. He talked about the strong rebound in retail sales. He talked about strong employment growth, and he said that the Reserve Bank's forecasts have been updated so that they now expect GDP to be back at its pre-COVID levels by mid this year, six to 12 months earlier than first forecast. In fact, their forecasts today are much better than their most optimistic scenarios in August of last year.
This comes after other important economic data. Ninety per cent of the 1.3 million Australians who either lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero at the start of the pandemic are now back at work. We saw quarterly growth in the September quarter at its highest level since 1976. And we have seen consumer confidence and business confidence get back to their pre-pandemic levels. This week we saw consumer confidence go up—earlier this week; 16 out of 20 weeks—and today I can report to the House that business confidence is up by 22 points and that the capital expenditure expectations of business are now the highest in a decade. That is the good economic data that is showing that the economic recovery is underway. When I had the opportunity to visit the electorate of Lindsay, I met with many businesses that have graduated off JobKeeper. More than two million Australian workers and 450,000 businesses have graduated out of JobKeeper, as the economic recovery is underway. So, while some in this place might want to talk down the economic recovery, and some in this place might want to talk down JobKeeper and the significance of it, the fact is it has helped build a bridge to the other side of this crisis.
There is a long way to go. But, as the governor said yesterday, you wouldn't want to be in any country but Australia, because we are very well placed on both the health and the economic front, and that has been due to the work of 25 million Australians and the unprecedented economic support from the Morrison government. This government, under this Prime Minister, is focused on delivering more jobs, and that is exactly what we are seeing in the Australian economy.