Monday, 15 February 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: Income Support Payments
My question is to the Treasurer. Would the Treasurer remind the House of the wide range of economic supports the Morrison government is providing to create a stronger Australia as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic?
I thank the member for Boothby for her question and I acknowledge her experience as a journalist before coming to this place, her experience working for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and her support for policies that have led to tax cuts for 77,000 people across the electorate of Boothby.
The Australian economy begins 2021 from a position where it is strengthening. We're seeing an economic recovery that is underway. The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the economy of Spain is going to contract by around 11 per cent; the economy of the United Kingdom will contract by around 10 per cent; the economies of France and Italy will contract by around nine per cent; the economies of Germany, Canada and Japan will contract by more than five per cent; and the economy of the Unites States will contract by 3.4 per cent. But their forecast for Australia for its contraction in 2020 is less than three per cent. This is why, based on the economic and health position we are in today, you wouldn't want to be in any other country but Australia.
A key part of that economic recovery that we have seen is the commitment by the Morrison government to $251 billion of economic support, $148 billion of which is already out the door. That includes $83 billion for JobKeeper out the door, a cash flow boost of $35 billion out the door, and $19 billion for the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement out the door already. When it comes to $750 payments—two of them—and a further $250 payment to millions of pensioners and carers and veterans and others on income support, around $10 billion is out the door. Those programs have been critical as an economic lifeline for the Australian community. But, on top of that, we've put in place the HomeBuilder program, which has more than 80,000 applications. The Master Builders Association has said it's helped save thousands of jobs.
We've put in place 340,000 training places. We've brought forward billions of dollars of infrastructure programs. When it comes to tax cuts, we believe in allowing Australians to keep more of their hard-earned money. There's more than a billion dollars a month that will be flowing through to the pockets of hardworking Australian families through our tax cuts. The combination of these programs, as well as the COVID support that we put in place at the height of the pandemic, is seeing economic recovery underway—that is, economic recovery that has seen 90 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 now back at work. There's a long way to go, but the Australian economy is recovering.