Swan announces $42b stimulus package

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan.
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan.
TREASURER Wayne Swan has announced a nation building and jobs economic stimulus package worth $42b aimed at preventing Australia's economy sliding into recession.

The package will provide funding for a range of infrastructure and nation building projects including:
  • $14.7 billion for schools
  • $12.7 billion in tax bonuses and one-off payments
  • $6.6 billion for new housing projects
  • $3.9 billion to provide free roof insulation
  • $890 million to fix regional roads and blackspots, and for regional and local government infrastructure.

The government will spend $12.7 billion on immediate one-off payments of $950 to support workers who earn under $100,000 per year, families with school-age children, drought-affected farmers, single income families and for those undergoing training.

As part of a long-term commitment, libraries and halls will be built or upgraded in every primary school, high school and kindergarten across Australia. In addition there will be 500 new science laboratories and language learning centres in schools that require them and up to $200,000 for every Australian school to carry out maintenance on buildings and facilities.

Up to 20,000 new homes will be constructed for low income individuals who are homeless as part of a Social Housing initiative, as well as 802 new dwellings for Defence Force personnel and their families.

The government hopes the package will kick-start Australia's lagging economy by encouraging domestic spending and creating up to 90,000 new jobs.

 “Without this significant and timely policy stimulus, Australia would face a more severe slowdown than forecast,” the government says.

“The weight of the global recession is now bearing down on the Australian economy. Economic growth is slowing and employment will weaken.”

The government predicts the effect of the rapid slowdown in global growth will strip around $115 billion from government revenue over the next four years, pushing the Australian economy into a $22.5 billion deficit this financial year.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the government expects unemployment to jump from 4.5 per cent to 7 per cent, with around 800,000 people out of work.

The five one-off cash bonuses included in today’s plan are the:
  • Tax Bonus for Working Australians of up to $950 paid to every eligible Australian worker earning $100,000 or less. This will support up to 8.7 million individuals.
  • $950 Single Income Family Bonus to support 1.5 million families with one main income earner.
  • $950 Farmers' Hardship Bonus paid to around 21,500 drought affected farmers and farm dependent small business owners receiving exceptional circumstances related income support.
  • $950 per child Back to School Bonus to support 2.8 million children from low and middle-income families.
  • $950 Training and Learning Bonus paid to students and people outside of the workforce returning to study to help with the costs of education and training.
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