Thursday, 25 February 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: Health Care, COVID-19: Economy
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer inform the House how the Morrison government's success on both health and economic fronts has ensured Australia is as well positioned as any country in the world to recover strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic?
I acknowledge the member for Wentworth's hard work in small business to support Australian technology companies getting access to international markets and for his outstanding work in diplomacy as an ambassador representing our nation. The Australian economy is performing better than nearly any other economy around the world, and on the health front Australia is responding to and dealing with this virus as well as any other country in the world.
I can inform the House that today the Australian economy got another shot in the arm, because capital expenditure is up three per cent in the December quarter—the single largest increase in capital expenditure since March 2012. The ABS are saying that businesses have upgraded their investment intentions off the back of our instant asset write-off. In last year's budget, we announced the most significant investment incentives ever in this country, supporting around $200 billion of investment with the immediate expensing provision and the loss carry-back measures, which Treasury said will help create around 50,000 jobs.
This is the latest proof point in an economic recovery that is well underway here in Australia. We've seen the unemployment rate fall to 6.4 per cent. We've seen business and consumer confidence recover to prepandemic levels. We've seen Australia's AAA credit rating reaffirmed. We've seen around 94 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 pandemic now back at work. The Morrison government will continue to provide the economic support that this country needs right to the end of this pandemic. That includes the JobMaker hiring credit, the tax cuts, those investment incentives, bringing forward infrastructure spending as well as pursuing historic, world-leading economic reforms like our changes to the digital platforms with our mandatory media code, which passed the parliament today and which will help create jobs and sustain public interest journalism in this country. Our No. 1 focus is on creating jobs. Australia's performance, the performance of 25 million Australians, has seen us better placed than nearly any country in the world on both the health and the economic fronts.