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Government chooses to lock in high unemployment future

Media Release
Adam Bandt 23 Jul 2020

The Greens have described today’s Economic and Fiscal Update as a plan based on austerity and fantasy projections that will lead to ongoing high unemployment.

The figures released by the Treasurer today exposed the urgent need for debt-financed public infrastructure and public services such as ongoing free childcare that will help get us into full employment, not more tax cuts for the wealthiest fifteen per cent of income earners.

“The government is choosing to lock in a high unemployment future. Their unwillingness to invest in job creation is clear in the update released today, which assumes unemployment will remain officially at 9%, even if restrictions are lifted in Q2 2021,” Greens Leader Adam Bandt said.

“This is a forecast based on austerity and wishful thinking. If restrictions aren't lifted within the government's optimistic timeframe, people will be out of work even longer.

"If government debt is as affordable as the Treasurer says, there should be a plan for full employment."

"By investing in nation-building and planet-saving projects, we could guarantee a job for everyone who wants one, but instead the government is choosing a high-unemployment future.

“A World War II sized deficit requires a World War II response to get people into meaningful, secure jobs." 

“The cost of servicing Australia’s projected debt remains less than 1% of GDP with interest repayments well below what they were for most of the Hawke/Keating government in the 1990s.
“The trickle-down orthodoxy of tax cuts and austerity in the October Budget will only make the crisis worse.”

“The Australian Greens Invest to Recover Plan released early in the crisis outlines what we need to do to dig our way out of the economic hole we are in.”

“We should be ensuring that anyone who wants a job can get a job. We can get people to work creating public assets that will last generations, like building 500,000 publicly owned homes to wipe out housing waiting lists, building green infrastructure, and investing in the businesses and technologies we need to create a green manufacturing renaissance.”

Comments from Greens' Treasury spokesperson Peter Whish-Wilson:

“Using public debt wisely is crucial to good economic management. The Australian Greens are the only political party putting forward a plan that most economists are calling for. We need to use the cheapest debt in history to build long-lasting public infrastructure and create jobs”, Peter Whish-Wilson said.

“Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese should tear a page out of their John Curtin and Robert Menzies’ history books. Those Prime Ministers used record high debt levels of 120% of GDP during and after World War II to create a full employment economy of between 1% and 3% unemployment. It was so successful that Australians weren’t “paying this debt off for generations”, but rather after a decade, public debt was reduced to pre-war levels and the deficit was gone within six years.”

“Australia’s debt to GDP ratio is still low compared to most developed countries and there is plenty of room for the government to move.”

“Today’s Economic Statement by the Treasurer lays out the problem, but he isn’t offering up any type of solution. The Liberal government’s “Tax-Breaks-As-Usual” and lack of real investment will never create a lasting economic recovery,” Whish-Wilson said.

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