Business, unions and welfare groups have overwhelmingly welcomed thefederal government\'s plan to spend $42 billion to keep the economyafloat in the face of the global recession.
Business, unions and welfare groups have overwhelmingly welcomed the federal government\'s plan to spend $42 billion to keep the economy afloat in the face of the global recession.
Most state governments say they support the package, which promises $12.7 billion in one-off bonus payments to immediately stimulate the economy and $28.8 billion of infrastructure spending on schools, roads, rail safety, home insulation and public housing.
The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) praised it as quick and simple, and deserving of strong support.
"The package targets consumer spending, which is absolutely critical to our near-term economic prospects, and boosts capital expenditure - looming as one of the real casualties," Ai Group chief Heather Ridout said.
BCA chief Katie Lahey said the package was a substantial economic stimulus that should have an immediate impact on demand.
ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said it was the right plan for difficult circumstances but he said more needed to be done.
"Australian workers at the moment are feeling pretty insecure and this is a plan to deal with that insecurity," Mr Lawrence said.
Benefits \'should increase\'
But Australian Council of Social Service chief Clare Martin, and UnitingCare, were both disappointed the package failed to increase unemployment benefits by $30 a week.
"It is only fair that people who are unable to find work get adequate assistance and support," Ms Martin said.
Catholic Social Services executive director Frank Quinlan and Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers both welcomed the package saying it was well timed and targeted low income earners.
Australian Local Government Association president Geoff Lake applauded the announcement, saying it would be a boost to local communities which are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
"The injection of additional funding for community facilities at the local level is without precedent and will mean a boost for jobs in local communities hit by the economic slowdown," Mr Lake said.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said there would be no delay in spending the funds on schools, roads and housing while Victorian Premier John Brumby said it was about "jobs, jobs, jobs".
South Australian Premier Mike Rann said it was "a terrific first wave response".
NSW Premier Nathan Rees said the state stood ready to spend and ready to build with the federal government.
"This is a bold and vital plan to help us fight our way out of the most challenging set of economic circumstances the world has faced since the Depression," Mr Rees said.