In a speech to the National Press Club on Monday, Morrison will pitch his vision for suppressing coronavirus and shoring up economic recovery, and state that the government’s pandemic spending program has to stop.
“You can’t run the Australian economy on taxpayers’ money forever,” Morrison will say.
“We are not running a blank cheque budget.”
JobSeeker wage subsidies and the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement have been progressively reduced since late last year and are due to end entirely on March 31, despite calls for them to continue.
But with economic growth improving, jobs coming back and households spending again, Morrison believes the time is right for more restraint.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is open to reining in spending, so long as the right purse strings are pulled.
Albanese argues government stimulus programs have been ill-directed and plagued by waste.
He claims there is nothing to show for the unprecedented spending blitz.
“The problem here is not that there has been spending – that was needed during a crisis, as it was needed during the Global Financial Crisis,” Mr Albanese told ABC radio.
“The problem here is you have a trillion dollars of debt with nothing to show for it.”
The opposition leader downplayed the 6.6 per cent unemployment rate, which is better than global standards, and Australia’s strong economic growth.
“What’s the economic reform or legacy arising out of this? That’s the question,” he said.
“This government doesn’t have a major infrastructure project, they don’t have a major economic reform, they won’t have any legacy from this trillion dollars in debt, which does have to be paid back.”
The prime minister is considering tailored support for the hard-hit tourism industry once JobKeeper wage subsidies are cut off.
Treasury is analysing tourism industry data and talks are under way with industry leaders to consider assistance measures, with many businesses under pressure from the closure to international visitors.
But Morrison says any emergency measures will be temporary and accompanied by a “clear fiscal exit strategy”.
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