House debates

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Questions without Notice

JobKeeper Payment

2:21 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. When only about 10 per cent of the vaccines he announced for the end of March have been delivered, when zero per cent of the disaster mitigation fund has been delivered and when less than one per cent of jobs the Treasurer announced would be supported by his hiring credit scheme have been delivered, why is the Prime Minister ripping away 100 per cent of JobKeeper support this weekend?

2:22 pm

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

I can inform the House that yesterday the Secretary of the Treasury, Dr Steven Kennedy, told the committee, when he was asked about the future of JobKeeper:

In our view it is appropriate for the program to end as other support measures take effect and to allow the economy to continue adjusting.

The member for Rankin may not be aware that more than 19,000 members in his own electorate have graduated off JobKeeper. The member for Rankin may not be aware that in his state of Queensland more than 550,000 people have graduated off JobKeeper. And the member for Rankin may not be aware that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8 per cent and that employment levels are now higher than they were pre the pandemic. And, again, the member for Rankin may not be aware that of all of those 88,700 jobs that were created in the month of February were full-time jobs, and that more than 80 per cent of those jobs went to women and more than 40 per cent of those jobs went to young people.

We understand that there are sectors across the economy and regions across the country that continue to do it tough. That's why, as JobKeeper ends, other support measures from the Morrison government continue to roll out. Today we've made an announcement, again, on support for the creative economy, with $125 million in new RISE grants. We've announced a $1.2 billion tourism and aviation package, designed to get more planes in the air and more tourists on the ground—including to many destinations across Queensland.

We're not out of this pandemic yet. There are still some challenging days ahead, but the Australian economy is recovering more strongly than nearly every other country in the world.