27 October 2020

SUBJECTS: Banking Royal Commission; Government’s dodgy jobs numbers.
STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: It’s time the Government stands up today and affirms its commitment to implement all of the recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission. Before the election Scott Morrison said he was committed to implementing all of those recommendations. But yesterday we learned that that commitment hasn't lasted the year. They're already planning to roll back the first recommendation, and that's the recommendation that requires banks to be responsible lenders. You’d think that's a fairly small hurdle to get over. But this Government has a plan to roll back the responsible lending obligations. We know there's a hot mess going on inside of ASIC. Now more than ever, absolutely critical that the Government sort out this mess. Its hand-picked commissioner has been steps stood aside. Its Chief Prosecutor has resigned at a critical time. We've got over a dozen cases arising from the Royal Commission, that are either before the courts or being prepared to be put before the courts, but the new chief prosecutor has left the building. Time for the Government to sort out this mess. At a time when the economy is in crisis. At a time when we need a strong corporate regulator, we've got a mess. Time for the government to stand up and sort this out.
JOURNALIST: Stephen from estimates yesterday, treasury officials said that there wouldn’t be nearly as many job created by the budget as the Government had been hoped. What are your thoughts on that?
JONES: We've been thinking for quite some time that all of the Government's budget projections are way overcooked. Whether it's wages growth, whether it's employment growth, whether it's the estimates for budget deficits, way overcooked. We think the Government needs to be open with the Australian people what's going about what they think is going to be happening in the employment market. It's also clearly not the time to be pulling out employment support. I mean, by March next year all of the wage subsidy support is planned to be removed at a time when unemployment is clearly going to going up not going down. So I think the Government is going to have to fundamentally rethink its economic plan. We're not two weeks, sorry, we're not two months from the budget and already it seems to be falling apart.
JOURNALIST: The Job Seeker rate, I guess, ongoing might not be confirmed until closer to Christmas. Is that too late to wait for people who might be going back to $40 a day on that allowance?
JONES: It beggars belief that the Government's own budget didn't have figures within it, estimates within it, for Job Seeker payments. A couple of months out from Christmas and when the rates of supposed to be scaled back, beggars belief that the Government could not name a rate and have it included within the budget. We’ve got a bit over a million people unemployed. That number is set to increase by over 160,000 between now and Christmas on the Government's own numbers. Treasury now says that number could be higher. At the very same time as unemployment is going up, support for the unemployed is going down.