Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s plan to take on $ 1 trillion in debt
Josh Frydenberg says the government has a way to manage the trillions of dollars in debt that has accumulated in its heavy budget.
The treasurer released his third federal budget last week, which projects gross debt to reach a whopping $ 1.2 trillion in 2025.
But Mr Frydenberg said there was a fairly positive picture of Australia’s ability to reduce the increase in debt that accompanied the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression.
“We definitely have a way to manage this debt,” he told Today.
“The key is to get more people to work, and the good news for Australians is that half a million jobs have been created since the October budget last year.”
Mr Frydenberg said the budget contained a plan to put an additional 250,000 people to work, which would add $ 5 billion to the bottom line.
“It’s the analysis of the treasury and it’s because you get more tax revenue and less social benefits,” he told Sunrise.
Its secretary, Dr Steven Kennedy, also warned that cutting spending too soon could hurt Australia’s economic recovery – but says it need to be mastered to pay for increased spending on essential services.
The federal budget also contained a controversial assumption that the international border would gradually reopen from mid-2022.
Business leaders have pressured the government to announce a timetable for reopening Australia to create certainty in their sectors.
But Scott Morrison remained strong, saying Australia would not risk losing lives to reopen borders.
Virgin chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka was among the leaders to say Australia should reopen its international borders when the most vulnerable are vaccinated despite the risk of death.
“Some people may die, but it will be much smaller than with the flu,” Ms Hrdlicka said on Monday.
However, Mr Frydenberg said he believed Ms Hrdlicka would choose different words if she had the time again.
“What she was trying to say is that over time we have to open up the borders,” Frydenberg said.
“But what we do not apologize for, and the Prime Minister is quite right when he said this, is to keep people safe.
“Our job is to reduce the likelihood of an epidemic because we have seen how costly it can be economically, but also what it can mean in terms of loss of life and livelihood.”