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Jobless rate sparks new economic debate -

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ELEANOR HALL: Returning to our lead story.

The better than expected employment numbers have sparked a war of words over the worth of the
Federal Government's stimulus measures.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says the spending packages have helped the jobs market.

But the Opposition is calling on the Government should review it's stimulus spending.

Let's hear first from the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

JULIA GILLARD: The Government acted quickly to support jobs through economic stimulus and the
economic evidence is in, particularly in the form of the retail sales figures and the residential
construction figures that economic stimulus is working to support jobs today.

The Government through its economic stimulus wants to support jobs today during the difficult days
of the global recession whilst building the infrastructure the nation will need for tomorrow. This
continues to be a difficult period for the global economy and for the Australian economy. World
output is falling, our terms of trade our substantially down and business investment remains
sluggish. In that environment, the government will continue through our economic stimulus package
and its delivery in schools, in the form of road and rail and other infrastructure through our
national broadband network to support jobs today during the global recession.

ANDREW SOUTHCOTT: They could say that but on the Government's own figures, the maximum impact of
the stimulus payments will not be felt until the second half of next year. And what this does so
which the Treasury forecast which was based on May but it was based on what was happening in the
first three months of this year was that with no stimulus unemployment would rise to 10 per cent
and with full stimulus, it would rise to eight and a half per cent.

Now no one now thinks that that is the case and it does, given that we are going to have to pay
back the $77-billion that they are spending on stimulating the economy, it's really important that
they reassess whether all of this is necessary.

ELEANOR HALL: The Opposition spokesman Andrew Southcott and before him Deputy Prime Minister, Julia