(Australian Associated Press)
Australia will have an extra 1.25 million jobs in five years and no government debt in a decade if the coalition remains in power, the prime minister has promised.
Scott Morrison made the commitment while revealing the next stage of the government’s economic plan – which also includes an extra tax break for small businesses – during a speech in Brisbane on Tuesday.
The plan comes as the Liberal leader ramps up his attack on the opposition’s economic credentials, while Labor leader Bill Shorten accuses him of running a scare campaign.
Mr Morrison has pointed to the creation of 1.2 million jobs since the coalition formed government in 2013 and its current low jobless rate of five per cent as evidence it should be in charge of the nation’s money.
“What’s the proof of a strong economy? What does it look like? It’s jobs, it’s always jobs,” he told an event on Tuesday.
A Bill Shorten-led Labor government would produce a weaker economy, affecting funding for a plethora of services, Mr Morrison said.
“At this next election only half of those of voting age will have experienced a recession during their working lives.
“So it is important to remind all of us that our economy cannot be taken for granted, that the economy is real, its impacts are real and, most importantly, it’s all about people.”
Mr Shorten says the government is fear-mongering.
“They’ve run out of anything to say about themselves, all they can do is talk about us,” he told reporters in regional NSW.
“The problem is this economy is not working in the interests of everyday Australians and their families.”
Mr Morrison says he’s simply stating the truth, while stopping short of suggesting Labor would cause a recession as his cabinet colleague Christopher Pyne did in November.
“It’s a fact. They are going to put $200 billion in new and higher taxes on the Australian economy and they boast about it,” Mr Morrison told ABC radio.
The Australian Council of Social Service said the government should improve support for those who are unemployed – to help them land jobs – and those who want to be working more.
“There are many people looking for more hours of paid work in order to get by, including in regional areas, and finding it really tough,” ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said.
The Morrison government has also again extended its instant asset write-off for small businesses to mid-2020, with the threshold raised from $20,000 to $25,000.