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RECORD DEBT AND DEFICIT BUT NO JOBS PLAN

September 25, 2020

JIM CHALMERS MP
SHADOW TREASURER
MEMBER FOR RANKIN

SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

The 2019-20 Final Budget Outcome confirms a new record deficit and highest-ever debt but there’s still unacceptably high unemployment and no proper plan from the Government to turn this around. 
 
The crisis has had a substantial impact on the economy and budget, but deficits and record debt have been a defining feature of this Government’s economic record for its entire time in office.
 
After promising a surplus in its first year and every year, the Government instead delivered seven deficits in a row, and doubled the debt even before the pandemic hit.
 
It’s hard to put any faith in the Government’s new fiscal strategy when they have failed their own tests so spectacularly for seven years.
 
It’s for the Treasurer to explain why debt was an “emergency” and a “disaster” when it was a fraction of what it is today, but after skyrocketing on his watch it is now “manageable”.
 
After declaring they “brought the Budget back to surplus next year”, and having posed with their ‘back in black’ mugs, the Government has delivered the biggest deficit in Australia’s history, and next year’s will be much worse.
 
New numbers today confirm that:

  • Net debt and gross debt are at new record high levels, $491.2 billion and $684.3 billion respectively – after already doubling under the Liberals before the pandemic hit.
  • The Liberals have delivered their seventh budget deficit, $85.3 billion in 2019-20, the biggest ever, despite promising years of surpluses. 
  • Yet again the Coalition spent less on infrastructure than promised.

The Treasurer talks about jobs and boosting demand but he is already withdrawing critical support from the economy during the worst recession in almost a century and he doesn’t have a jobs plan to replace it.
 
Throughout this crisis, Labor has been consistent that the priority needs to be jobs and our response has been guided by this principle.  
 
Any new spending is borrowed money – it can’t be wasted on mates, or rorts, or dodgy deals, or pork barrelling. 
 
New spending needs to get bang for buck, protect jobs, create secure jobs, train and up-skill Australians and support families doing it tough.
 
Australians deserve a plan from the Morrison Government to promote growth, protect and create jobs, support business and set us all up for the recovery.

FRIDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER 2020