COMMENT

CANBERRA MATTERS | Government's mini-budget lacks plan for job creation

PROJECT: Meryl Swanson says fast-tracking the extension of the M1 at Hexham will boost the economy and improve safety for motorists. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
PROJECT: Meryl Swanson says fast-tracking the extension of the M1 at Hexham will boost the economy and improve safety for motorists. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Last Thursday Treasurer Frydenberg delivered a stark report on the Commonwealth's Budget.

We now have the biggest deficit since World War II coupled with rapidly rising unemployment.

We already knew the economy was in bad shape though.

Like many Australians, I was hoping to hear what the Government was going to do about it.

Whilst Labor welcomed the introduction of JobKeeper, which has helped stem the flow of job losses in the short term, the Government now needs a plan to create jobs for the 1.3 million Australians on JobSeeker.

If the Liberals have one, they are holding it close to their chest.

This isn't very helpful when we need to be giving businesses the confidence to spend, invest and hire more workers.

Without a plan for job creation, unemployment will be higher for longer and the recovery will be slower than it should be.

We need the Government to be investing and we need every dollar to count.

Any money spent on economic stimulus needs to work hard and have a big impact.

Labor has already put forward some sensible suggestions.

The Government should invest in big infrastructure projects like high speed rail and public housing.

Fast tracking the extension of the M1 at Hexham will not only boost the economy it will ensure safe and smooth travel for locals, workers and tourists alike.

Funding smaller projects like the Richmond Vale Rail Trail can bring ongoing benefits to communities like Kurri Kurri.

Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson

Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson

Investing in public housing not only creates a lot of jobs in the construction phase but it also provides a lasting benefit for our most vulnerable Australians.

It is a much better use taxpayers' money than the Government's HomeBuilder scheme that gives $25,000 to people with a spare $150,000 in the bank for renovations.

The Government needs to come up with a plan to support local manufacturing.

The shortages of sanitisers and protective equipment such as masks during this pandemic should not have happened.

The shrinking of our manufacturing sector has made Australia less self-sufficient.

The Government needs to come up with a plan to expand our manufacturing industry.

This will also create good, skilled jobs.

Here in the Hunter we have an innovative manufacturing sector ready to step up.

We've already seen for example local mining services company Ampcontrol work with Newcastle University to make ventilators during the pandemic.

The Government also needs to finally develop an energy policy that ensures cheaper and cleaner energy.

For years many businesses have said that the lack of certainty around energy prices has put them off investing.

Businesses don't know what the Government is going to do about energy prices.

They need the Government to have a plan to bring down the cost of energy, so they can invest and create more jobs.

Whilst COVID is a new and difficult challenge, this is not a new Government.

The Liberals have wasted seven years governing with little vision and no real plan.

It has now been six months since the first COVID case in Australia and there is no more time to waste.

  • Meryl Swanson is the Federal Member for Paterson. Her office can be contacted on 4983 2401 or via her website, merylswanson.com.au.

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