Josh Frydenberg has warned it was “very dangerous and unrealistic” to move forward from medical advice, as the Australian government contemplated a trial of easing Covid-19 restrictions.
Appearing on ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, the federal treasurer estimates a significant increase in unemployment as a result of coronavirus and says the government has no plans to change GST, suggesting that growth alone might be enough to pay off debt incurred for a $ 214 billion economic support package.
Previously, the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, sounding less optimistic, warned that economic recovery “would need” tax reform and refused to rule out GST changes.
On Sunday, Australia’s death rate from Covid-19 rose to 58 and confirmed cases were raised to 6,289, when government authorities thanked Australians who had stayed home at Easter to consolidate the promising decline in the daily number of new cases.
The chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, told reporters in Canberra that “there is no place in the world that I want than Australia at the moment” but we must not be “satisfied” because of the ongoing community transmission.
With an average number of new cases rolling below 2% for five consecutive days, states include Western Australia and Australia New South Wales have started to suggest restrictions can be reduced.
The chief NSW medical officer, Kerry Chant, has suggested a “zigzag” approach that can see restrictions on traveling outside for non-essential purposes to subside based on trials and then reactivated if the number of cases increases.
Murphy notes that “throughout the world [countries] has issued a restriction and must re-apply it “and said the national cabinet will not lift the restriction until there are steps including monitoring and tracking to ensure the number of cases remains under control.
“But there is a big risk in doing so and we certainly say that this is not the right time now.”
Previously, Frydenberg told Insiders that “it is very dangerous and unrealistic to move forward from medical advice”.
“As the prime minister said, patience is a virtue, and satisfaction is a problem,” he said. “And everyone needs to understand that this is a very fluid and difficult situation.”
Frydenberg noted that Scott Morrison had “prepared the country for at least six months” of Covid-19 restrictions and would not predict if they could be lifted sooner.
“Once again, I don’t have a crystal ball … We have a level of success in leveling that curve.”
Frydenberg said he was confident Australia would suffer “a significant increase in unemployment” due to the “severe economic impact of health restrictions” but business leaders understood the need to follow medical advice.
Frydenberg revealed that 802,000 companies had applied to access employer wage subsidies for millions of employees, while more than 600,000 workers had applied for early access to their pension funds based on financial difficulties.
He suggested the number of those who wanted access to the super might shrink, because many had expressed interest before the $ 130 billion wage subsidy program was announced and passed by parliament.
The treasurer said the government “has no plans” to expand eligibility for payments of $ 1,500 every two weeks, explaining that the wisdom for him to do so without remembering the parliament was designed for “unforeseen circumstances”.
The Australian Trade Union and Labor Council has cited the treasury’s policy as the basis for an ongoing campaign for one million casual workers with less than 12 months of service with their current employers and 1.1 million temporary visa workers to get paid.
Frydenberg revealed that it would cost $ 18 billion to add one million victims to the program, but insisted that he intended to use his wisdom only “if you need to apply [the program] in a different way from[Australia[Australian[Australia[AustralianTax Office]”If there are problems in the implementation phase.
Frydenberg said Australian short-term casual workers would qualify for a $ 1,100 two-week job seeker’s payment in exchange, while temporary visa holders could access their pensions, continue working or return home.
“With $ 130bn … we have to draw a line somewhere. This is a massive cry on the public wallet and that is the debt that the country will pay over the coming years and to the six million people in the job guard program, which is almost half of Australia’s workforce.
Asked whether a tax increase would be needed to repay new debt, Frydenberg replied that “it will be paid back in the coming years”.
“But, once again, we are approaching this crisis with about a quarter of the ratio of debt to GDP of the US, UK, and about one fifth of what is in Japan.
“The way to meet the increasing debt burden is to grow the economy.”
Frydenberg said that Liberal party is “a lower taxing party” and claims its track record shows it can withstand government spending. “We have to climb that mountain again.”
Frydenberg spoke loudly about the need to fight Covid-19, which he described as a “faceless and flagless enemy” but warned that – despite the prime minister’s call to protect Australia’s sovereignty – the current crisis was “not an argument for protectionism”.
Previously, McCormack said “recovery from the other side would require that [tax reform]”
“I think the expenditure review committee and the state will have a big say in that,” he told Sky News.
McCormack claims Coalition knows how to “manage money” but says the federal government will “need help from Labor states and territories, through [Council of Australian Governments] the national process and cabinet are the best “to manage tax reform.
On Sunday the education minister, Dan Tehan, guaranteed that the federal government would pay $ 18 billion in a Commonwealth grant scheme to universities this year regardless of whether they met the estimated number of students at the time of the 2019 budget.
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