House debates

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Economy

2:17 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. How is the Morrison government's strong and decisive economic leadership continuing to support jobs and livelihoods while ensuring the fundamentals of our economy continue to recover strongly from the effects of the COVID-19 recession?

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

I acknowledge the member for Ryan's service as a member of the Brisbane City Council for a number of years and his support for policies that have delivered tax cuts to 74,000 people in the electorate of Ryan.

Today, the Australian economy got another piece of positive economic data about the strengthening labour market. Payroll jobs are up by 1.3 per cent for the fortnight across all states and territories—that is, back to the level they were a year ago. It follows the data yesterday from the ATO which showed that 2.1 million Australians have graduated off JobKeeper and 520,000 Australian businesses have graduated off JobKeeper in the December quarter, compared to the previous period. We saw a 70 per cent fall in the number of people in Western Australia on JobKeeper. We saw a 64 per cent fall in the number of people in Queensland on JobKeeper. We saw a 60 per cent fall in New South Wales of the number of people in JobKeeper. We've seen the unemployment rate come down to 6.6 per cent. We've seen 320,000 jobs created in the last three months. We've 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 this crisis now back at work.

In the RBA minutes released today, it pointed to the economic recovery across the Australian economy occurring earlier and being stronger than first expected. And then, when it comes to the unemployment forecasts, they've been upgraded. When it comes to the unemployment numbers today, they say they've even beaten the most optimistic scenarios as recently as November last year. This is occurring. This recovery is underway because the Australian people have worked so hard to help suppress the virus but also because of the unprecedented level of economic support from the Morrison government—$251 billion has been committed and more than $140 billion is out the door. That $251 billion is equivalent to 13 per cent of GDP. The JobKeeper program, the cashflow boost, the coronavirus supplement, the $750 payments to millions of pensioners, carers, veterans and others on income support: they have helped deliver the results.

Businesses and their workers are graduating off JobKeeper—like JAX Tyres in Mitchelton, where Dean has said: 'The support was excellent. At a time when the world was in lockdown, the transition period was well communicated and allowed us to prepare. The JobKeeper program helped us stay on our feet.' He's been able to keep his workers employed, like we've seen right across the country, because of the strong support from the Morrison government.