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Government announces $18-billion stimulus package to save the economy from coronavirus

The government has announced a huge stimulus package, aimed at stopping the economy from heading into recession.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused sharp drops in global markets, with economists warning it could get significantly worse before it gets better.

Cash payments for businesses, significant wage subsidies for apprentices and a massive expansion of the instant asset write-off scheme are part of the package expected to be worth as much as $18 billion.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg tells Alan Jones it’s crucial to get people back out and spending.

“We’ll be making an announcement about certain targeted payments, that’s right, and that will boost consumption across the economy.”

He also revealed the government will lower the deeming rate, saving pensioners more than half a billion dollars.

“I can tell you, Alan, that we are going to change the deeming rates, at a cost of about $600 million.

“We’re going to reduce the deeming rates by half a percentage point. That is a very significant change.”

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City of Sydney Councillor Craig Chung tells Alan Jones the virus is having a real-time impact on businesses in the city because of a drop in international students and foot traffic.

“Some of the high streets that aren’t quite in the university areas are still down because people are just scared.

“[We’re] taking this a step at a time, listening to the health authorities. They’re not telling us, at the moment, to stay at home.”

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Image: Getty/Betsy Joles