The $60 billion question
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With the government’s JobKeeper scheme set to cost $60 billion less than originally forecasted, this week on Democracy Sausage we look at what the government might do with its bonus billions.

 

It was blamed on everything from employers filling out forms incorrectly to the ‘health miracle’ of Australia’s coronavirus response, but the $60 billion budget underspend on JobKeeper raises big questions for the government. So with less stimulus money swashing around in the economy than planned, should the government look at supporting sectors of the economy that are struggling? From the university sector, to employers who didn’t meet the 30 per cent turnover drop, to the nation’s growing unemployed – where should the budget billions be spent? On this episode of Democracy Sausage, Professor Mark Kenny crunches the numbers with Peter Burn of Ai Group and The Age and Sydney Morning Herald’s Chief Political Correspondent David Crowe. 


Mark Kenny is a Professor in the ANU Australian Studies Institute. He came to the university after a high-profile journalistic career including six years as chief political correspondent and national affairs editor for The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age, and The Canberra Times.


Peter Burn is Head of Influence and Policy at the Australian Industry Group and is responsible for policy development on a wide range of issues for the group. Previously Director of Policy at the Business Council of Australia, Peter also held academic positions in Economics Departments at the University of Queensland and the University of Newcastle after starting his professional career at the Commonwealth Treasury.


David Crowe is Chief Political Correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and a regular commentator on national affairs on the ABC's Insiders program. In a career spanning 25 years, he has covered federal politics as the national affairs editor of The Australian and the Chief Political Correspondent of The Australian Financial Review.


Marija Taflaga is the Director of ANU Centre for the Study of Australian Politics and a lecturer in the ANU School of Politics and International Relations. Her major research is on political parties and particularly the Liberal Party of Australia. She has previously worked in the Australian Parliamentary Press Gallery as a researcher at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.


Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to podcast@policyforum.net. You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or join us on the Facebook group.


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Politics with Michelle Grattan
Politics with Michelle Grattan
The Conversation
Politics with Michelle Grattan: economist Danielle Wood on Australia's 'blokey' budget
Mick Tsikas/AAP In his budget reply, Anthony Albanese said women have suffered most during the pandemic, but were reduced to a footnote in the budget. He promised a Labor government would undertake a generous reshaping of the childcare subsidy to enable more women to join the workforce or to work more hours. This week, Michelle Grattan talks to Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood who, in writing for the Australian Financial Review, described the budget as “blokey”: “We look at those areas that have received direct support - construction… the energy sector, defence, manufacturing, all of those areas where the government has put direct money into a particular sector - they tend to be male dominated sectors. "And actually often they’re not the ones that have taken the hardest hit in this recession. "The sectors that have been hit really hard: hospitality, tourism, the arts, recreation, administrative services tend to be actually slightly more female dominated… we really don’t see any direct assistance for those sectors in the budget. ” When asked about the budget generally Wood, the president of the Economic Society of Australia, is concerned all the eggs have been put into the “private sector basket”. “If it doesn’t pay off, then we may see unemployment sticking around for a long time to come.” In the Grattan institute’s report, co-authored by Wood, and titled Cheaper Childcare, Wood endorsed reform in a similar vein to Albanese’s proposal. “Our numbers suggest that for every dollar that you spend reforming the subsidy…you return more than two dollars in additional GDP,” she says. “The Labor reforms… you’re probably talking, if its $2 billion a year… something in the vicinity of $5 billion return each year for GDP.” Additional audio A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive. Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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