Josh Frydenberg says his delayed budget will focus on getting people back to work

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says his delayed 2020/21 budget will focus on getting people back to work after the hit to the economy from the coronavirus.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg speaks to the media during an announcement in Melbourne, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett) NO ARCHIVING

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg Source: AAP

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised his delayed October budget will be about getting people back into work.

There have been widespread calls for the government to take the opportunity to undertake widespread reforms to kick-start the economy out its first recession in nearly three decades, particularly in the tax system.

But Mr Frydenberg says the government has already made significant reforms, such as abolishing of a whole personal income tax bracket - a removal that has already been legislated to be introduced in the next couple of years.


"Reforms are recurring all the time ... whether it's on tax, whether it's on superannuation, whether its on skills, whether its on infrastructure, we are undertaking significant reform," Mr Frydenberg told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.

"The budget will continue to have more reforms but obviously what we are focusing on is getting people back to work."

He said Australia was still in the middle of a once in 100-year crisis where unemployment was expected to reach about 10 per cent by the end of the year, and the Reserve Bank and Treasury expected it would remain elevated for some time.

The 2020/21 budget was delayed from is traditional May release to 6 October because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In its budget submission, the Australian Industry Group calls for a range of measures to boost employment skills employability.

It wants legislated income tax changes to be brought forward and the company tax rate cut to 25 per cent, that is due to take effect from next July for businesses with turnover below $50 million, extended to those companies with a turnover of less that $1 billion.

It also calls for an acceleration in infrastructure and housing projects.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the deferred budget comes at a critical time with Australia in its first recession since the early 1990s.

"For the near-term, measures are clearly required to assist and secure the recovery of activity, investment and employment in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis," Mr Willox said.

"The budget also presents an opportunity to act on measures that will rectify the underlying weaknesses in the economy that were evident prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis."

Mr Frydenberg also called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to set out a road map for the lifting Stage 4 restrictions currently in place across Melbourne, citing massive job losses. 

"We'll have more Victorians on JobKeeper than the rest of the country combined," he told ABC News on Monday. "We're seeing up to 400,000 people lose their job or see their hours reduced to zero."

Victoria recorded 114 new coronavirus cases on Sunday and 94 on Saturday, the first day since 4 July with new cases in the double digits, but Mr Andrews said it was too early to open up the city.

"What we need to do is focus on medical advice, but we haven't been told by the Premier what is an acceptable level of new coronavirus cases," Mr Frydenberg said. 

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If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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4 min read
Published 31 August 2020 at 7:22am
Source: AAP, SBS