Don’t sweat it: Budget braced for more Aussie COVID cases
There will be more money in families' pockets to spend, a vote of confidence for the Olympic Games bid and a focus on creating jobs, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg promised Queenslanders, but the economic recovery depends on a proportionate response to new COVID outbreaks.
Speaking the The Courier-Mail, Mr Frydenberg said this year's "pandemic budget" was braced for more cases to arise in Australia, but warned states that sustained lockdowns would have a "significant impact" on people, communities and the economy.
There will be a focus on getting employment down below pre-pandemic levels, with new training measures targeted at young people and long-term unemployed, as well as record investment in building roads and rail.
The Treasurer, who will hand down his third budget on Tuesday, said the budget was designed to secure the economic recovery and get people into work.
"We have a historic opportunity to drive the unemployment rate back to where it was pre-pandemic, and then even lower," Mr Frydenberg said.
In a message pitched at premiers' keen to impose borders restrictions, he said it was important that states took a proportionate response to risks created by new virus outbreaks.
"We must all follow the medical advice, but at the same time ensure that the economy continues to recover and confidence is maintained. The impact of sustained lockdowns is very significant on the community and the economy," the Treasurer said.
"We make assumptions in the budget with respect to statewide lockdowns over the course of next year and our ability as a nation to respond to new cases as they arise.
"We understand that there are going to be more cases. We're not seeking to implement an elimination strategy, we're seeking to suppress the virus so that people remain safe, the economy prospers and the community can go about living their lives in a COVID-safe way."
With a nod to reports low and middle income tax relief of up to $1080 for people earning up to $90,000 are on the way, Mr Frydenberg said there would be good news for families on Tuesday.
"It's been speculated upon that there will be more tax relief, ensuring that Australian families have more of their money in their pocket to spend as they see fit," he said.
To help get the unemployment level below 5 per cent, there will be training measures "designed to support young people and longer-term unemployed".
"This is a budget that will create jobs and guarantee essential services in Queensland while helping to keep Queenslanders safe from COVID," Mr Frydenberg said.
"My focus, the government's focus, is on creating more jobs in Queensland.
Treasurer said the Morrison Government was "strongly committed" to supporting the Olympic Games in Brisbane.
"(We) look forward to working on infrastructure projects as they are developed and agreed," he said.
He said Queensland's economy had come back strongly from "unprecedented economic support" from the Morrison Government.
"Our targeted programs like 800,000 half price airfares are helping to support the aviation and tourism industry and regional areas of Queensland like Cairns," he said.
Originally published as Lockdown warning as Treasurer promises more money for families