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Source: Australian Treasurer

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Treasurer, good morning, welcome.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good morning Sam, nice to be with you.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

The opinion polls are pretty encouraging. Are you celebrating this?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Certainly not. Our focus is on one thing, creating jobs. They are the numbers that we are focused on and what this Budget is all about is creating up to a million new jobs and getting Australia through the COVID-19 recession. It’s an economic recovery plan which boosts economic activity, puts more money into people’s pockets through tax cuts, encourages businesses to invest, to hire, to innovate and to grow while also guaranteeing the essential services that people rely on.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay, given how much debt there is, Australians don’t seem to be overly concerned by that. I think we all get it but the major criticism of this Budget is that there is not enough for women. The industries hardest hit by COVID, hospitality, retail, education, all have the highest number of female workers. What you say to those criticisms?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well Sam, every measure in this Budget is designed to create more jobs for women and for men. 54 per cent of the jobs that have been lost during COVID have been jobs that have been filled by women. But 60 per cent of the jobs that have come back are jobs that are filled by women. So that’s an encouraging sign. The Coalition’s track record going into COVID was getting female workforce participation to a record high, helping to close the gender pay gap, which still has a way to go, but it was starting to close under our Government. The measures in this Budget, whether they’re backing small business, whether they’re the woman’s economic security statement, whether they’re the record spending on health and education, they are all designed to help jobs for both women and for men.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Would you be prepared to go back into a bit more debt though, with this level of debt though to help more women get back into the workforce and provide more childcare benefits?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well there is $9.2 billion in this Budget for childcare, a record spend and it has helped get female workforce participation to a record level before we went into COVID. Our focus with childcare has been on those lower and middle income earners where you can get up to an 85 per cent subsidy in order to get those women or those men into work by supporting childcare. So we already have a range of measures, they are proving to do the job and we will continue to obviously encourage economic activity more broadly with the other measures that are in the Budget.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:  

Okay. JobKeeper is going to end in March next year. What happens after JobKeeper?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well the Budget is about the transition away from JobKeeper. It was always a temporary and a targeted measure and at $101 billion it is the single largest economic support package that any Australian Government has ever undertaken. It’s supported more than 3.5 million Australians. But the next phase of the recovery is going to be a private sector lead recovery. Eight out of every 10 jobs across the economy are in the private sector. What we have decided to do in this Budget is to create more incentives for them to invest, create more incentives for them to hire, whether it is to hire apprentices or whether it is to hire younger people under the age of 35 who have been unemployed. Because the experience Sam, of previous recessions is that it takes a long time to get people from the unemployment queues into work but an even longer period of time to get younger people into work.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. Now a key part of the Budget was bringing forward the second stage of income tax cuts and that has gone down very well. Four in five Australians say they welcome that, I’m not sure who the fifth person was who doesn’t. But how confident are you that that money will actually go back into the economy, people will spend that extra money?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well Treasury’s advice is that it will help create 50,000 jobs. Over 11.5 million Australians will get more money in their pocket, that money will be spent across the economy and that will help create economic activity and jobs. People are saving at the moment because of two factors really. One is the uncertainty about the economic environment. But secondly because of the restrictions that have been put in place because of COVID, they haven’t been able, for example in Victoria, to go to their local cafe or to their local restaurant or to take the holiday that they wanted to. So there are restrictions on how they can spend. Once those restrictions are eased, more money will be spent across the economy as a result of these tax cuts.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

And the regions are bustling. You cannot get accommodation out there so I think that hopefully the money is being spent out there. Josh Frydenberg, good to see you. Thank you for your time.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Great to see you Sam.

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