Scott Morrison will announce on Wednesday he’s bringing forward $4 billion in new infrastructure spending to kickstart the economy, but he will reject Labor’s “panic merchant” calls for cash handouts.
In an admission that the first tranche of the tax cuts for low and middle-income earners and record low-interest rates has failed to deliver the desired effect on the economy, the Prime Minister will outline plans for a new economic stimulus package.
The Reserve Bank has repeatedly urged the Morrison Government to consider a faster rollout of infrastructure spending. But the projects need to be ‘shovel-ready’ so they can be rolled out quickly.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has recently been quoting the famous edict during the Global Financial Crisis for the Rudd Government to “go hard and go households”.
But in a speech to a Business Council of Australia, the Prime Minister will warn the last thing the nation needs is a “panic merchant” in the Lodge.
“A responsible and sensible government does not run the country as if it is constantly at DEFCON1 the whole time, whether on the economy or any other issue,” Mr Morrison’s speech states.
“It deals with issues practically and soberly.
“The appetite for crisis popular amongst some these days, on so many issues, reflects an immaturity demanding urgent action regardless of the consequences.”
During that GFC, voters were handed out $900 cash cheques to stimulate the economy that were later found to have been sent to dead people.
“What you get is the fiscal debacle that was rendered by the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor government that we are still paying for to this day, and that Labor continues to promote,” Mr Morrison’s speech reads.
“We will not be following Labor’s mistakes.
“If Australians wanted to elect economic panic merchants, they would have voted Labor.”
Mr Morrison has already announced fast-tracked spending in some states including South Australia, and will make further announcements for infrastructure in Queensland and WA on Wednesday.
But the Prime Minister said the accelerated spending would not impact on the government delivering a surplus.
“While returning the budget to surplus, we have been making the right choices to reshaping the budget to better support the economy, now and over the medium to long term,” he said.
“This year’s election was a vote for stability and certainty in uncertain times, a vote for staying the course on a policy agenda that has worked to rebuild our nation’s finances, retain our AAA credit rating and start paying down our debt so as not to further burden future generations.
“That’s the point of a surplus — it’s not extra money that lies around like coins down the back of the sofa.”
Mr Morrison added: “Its purpose is to reduce the more than $19bn we are paying on interest each year on the debt that has been built up by 12 years of deficits … Fixing our finances has been achieved at the same time as rewarding aspiration and enterprise in our economy through once-in-a-generation tax relief allowing Australians to keep more of what they earn.”