Thursday, 25 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will rip away JobKeeper from more than a million Australians in just three days time. Treasury has warned that up to 150,000 Australians currently on JobKeeper will lose their jobs, but it's been revealed that the government's hiring credit scheme has only supported 609 jobs. How many Australians will be left behind by this government when the Prime Minister rips away JobKeeper this Sunday?
I will hand over to the Treasurer in just a moment. As the Treasury secretary has already stated, the impacts that are being felt in our economy do not lead to the conclusion of Treasury that that would lead to a rise in unemployment. But we will deal with the issues as they continue to present. What we know is that the number of people employed in this country is greater today—in fact, back in February—than it was when the recession and the pandemic hit this country. We've still got a long way to go, there's no doubt about that. But now that we have returned to a position better than when the pandemic started, in terms of the number of people employed in this country—we said that emergency assistance would be temporary and that it would be targeted.
It is one thing, when it comes to a government such as ours, to know when we need to act and to stand in the gap for Australians and provide that emergency assistance. That is an important thing that governments must have in responding to a crisis. But our government also understands that you cannot run the Australian economy on taxpayers' money forever. You also need the fiscal discipline of a government that the taxpayers can trust to know when you need to provide that support and as your economy grows—
Opposition members interjecting—
You've also got to know that, once you've stepped in and provided that support, you can trust Australian businesses and Australian workers who are rebuilding this economy on the other side of the pandemic. If it was up to the Labor Party, they'd never stop spending. And that means they'd never stop taxing. That's what we know about the Labor Party. They can start spending but they can never stop it, and that means they start taxing and they never stop taxing. The Treasurer may wish to add to the answer.
I would remind the House that 18,883 people in the member for Corio's electorate have graduated off JobKeeper—73 per cent of the member's own electorate have graduated off JobKeeper. Indeed, Senator Henderson and I visited Cotton On in the member's electorate, a business employing more than 5,000 Australians. The member for Corio wasn't there. We were there to celebrate the fact that it has also graduated off JobKeeper and to also celebrate the fact that, in the member's own electorate, they were making an investment in the expansion of their distribution centre, creating more than 100 new jobs. (Time expired)