Scott Morrison has argued the coronavirus pandemic is 30 times worse than the global financial crisis as he embarks on a sales pitch for the federal budget spending bonanza.
The coalition has unveiled plans to spend more than $70 billion on tax breaks, critical care services and training programs to fuel job creation.
The prime minister insists the situation is vastly different to Labor’s stimulus measures in 2008 despite facing accusations of hypocrisy.
“Thirty times worse – that’s what this pandemic is compared to the global financial crisis,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.
“I just don’t think the situations are comparable.”
The International Monetary Fund estimated a global economic contraction of 3.3 per cent last year, while the GFC downturn was 0.1 per cent.
The IMF has also predicted six per cent global growth this year, easing to 4.4 per cent next year.
The budget deficit is an improved $161 billion this year, while debt is expected to reach almost $1 trillion in 2024/25.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said GFC-era spending led to the national broadband network, paid parental leave and major infrastructure projects.
“We have a trillion dollars of debt, but no legacy for it,” he told the ABC.
“It’s all about short-term political expediency. Wages are going to not keep up with the cost of living over the next four years. That’s the damning indictment of this government in its own budget papers.”
Aged care will receive an extra $17.7 billion over four years to address a damning royal commission report which detailed horror stories of neglect and abuse.
Some $2.3 billion will be spent on a mental health funding increase which experts had been demanding for years.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is receiving a $13.2 billion boost, while money will also be shelled out on training and apprentice subsidies.
Low- and middle-income earners will have a tax break worth up to $1080 extended for a year, while businesses will also benefit from asset write-offs and other incentives.
While the government claims $15 billion has been added to a 10-year road and rail pipeline, Labor argues the plan amounts to a $3.3 billion cut over the next four years.
“It’s all smirk and mirrors from this prime minister. He says there’ll be more money. When you look at the detail in the short-term, there’s less,” Mr Albanese said.