Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Federal government presents stimulus package -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has now announced a $10.4-billion economic stimulus
package which delivers help to pensioner's families and first home buyers.

He says the federal government is acting decisively to keep Australia's economy growing.

Joining me now from federal parliament is political correspondent Lyndal Curtis.

Lyndal this package is considerably larger than was speculated, what's in it?

LYNDAL CURTIS: Yes there was speculation this morning that it would be a $5-billion package, it's
more than doubled that to $10.4-billion. The help mainly targeted at people who will go out and
spend the money when they get it, who won't hoard it away for the future. That's pensioners,
carers, low and middle income families and first home buyers.

On the family payments there will be $3.9-billion worth of support, a $1,000 payment for each
eligible child in care for those who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A.

And also those receiving Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY or the Veterans Children's Education Scheme.

The First Home Buyers Grant will double from seven to $14,000, but for people buying as their first
home, a new home, a newly built home, it'll actually triple to $21,000.

The government will also create new training places, 56,000 new training places, but the biggest
element of this package is a $4.8-billion payment to pensioners and carers and seniors. Kevin Rudd
says that the payments will be lump sum ones.

KEVIN RUDD: This will contain within it a $4-billion down payment for pensioners, which we made
available through our lump sum payment of $1,400 to single pensioners and $2,100 to pensioner
couples. This will be payable in December. The decisions necessary to implement that change by
December need to be taken this week.

Also people who are receiving Carer Allowance will also receive $1,000 for each eligible person
they care for.

These payments will be made from 8th December 2008 and are intended to provide additional support
in the nine months between now and the middle of next year. When long-term reforms will take place
as the government has already indicated.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking a short time ago in Canberra. Lyndal
what's the government saying about why it's spending such a big chunk of the surplus now?

LYNDAL CURTIS: The Prime Minister says there are three reasons if you look at the data that's being
produced in recent days. There are significant downward revisions in global economic growth,
there's evidence of softening prices for commodities that Australia sells and that business and
consumer confidence here and in other countries is pointing to difficult times ahead.

He's describing this as an economic security strategy, he's already said that the financial crisis
is the equivalent of a rolling national security strategy and he's employing some of that language
to describe this, an economic security strategy.

He says it was important for the government to act early and decisively, he says the global
financial crisis is entering into a new dangerous and damaging phase and that this job is designed
not only to support households but also to help keep economic growth positive so they're certainly
concerned about it and they want to keep a plus sign in front of it.

ELEANOR HALL: Now opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull indicated this morning that he'd support a
smaller plan. Is he likely to back this one?

LYNDAL CURTIS: Yes I think there would be no doubt that the Opposition will back this plan, they
already came out on the weekend and said that they'd back the plan that Kevin Rudd announced to
support bank deposits and bank borrowings.

The Opposition has been calling for quite some time for help for pensioners and proposed a $30
increase in the rate of the pension. I think it would agree that a lump sum increase is also an
equivalent payment, a similar sort of payment and Kevin Rudd is now definitely saying that there
will be more help for pensioners likely to be an increase in the base rate of the pension in next
year's Budget to take place in, or to come into force in the middle of the year.

This also will be supported by the backbenchers who've also had concerns about pensioners and the
difficulties they are in and certainly will be supported by pensioners themselves.

ELEANOR HALL: Lyndal Curtis thank you.