Scott Morrison's economic recovery plan involves opening borders, overhauling migration and pushing JobSeekers to the country

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled his recovery plan for Australia. (David Gray, Getty Images)
  • The federal government expects the Australian economy to grow 5% this financial year and 4.5% in the next one as a result of fiscal stimulus measures.
  • Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said key to the recovery strategy was restarting and overhauling temporary migration visas, pushing JobSeeker recipients into regional areas, and keeping state borders open.
  • He also laid out his longer-term economic priorities, including developing Australian into a global leader in research and development (R&D) and developing a reliable, low-emissions energy base.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The Prime Minister has revealed his idea of what Australia should look like in 2021 and beyond.

Speaking at the AFR Business Summit on Tuesday, Scott Morrison has unveiled the key tenets of his economic recovery strategy as his government terminates the JobKeeper subsidy and JobSeeker supplement.

“We can now switch over to medium and longer-term economic policy settings that support private sector, business-led growth in our economy,” Morrison said.

He said the impact of these and other measures would continue to flow through the economy.

“Treasury estimates direct support measures will see expected economic activity 5% higher in 2020-21 and 4.5% higher in 2021-22, compared with no support,” Morrison said, noting certain industries would need ongoing support.

“We do understand that ongoing targeted measures will be necessary to maintain our aviation and travel industry while assisting regions that are heavily reliant on international tourists by boosting domestic tourism to those areas.”

Meanwhile, he stressed the $1 billion JobTrainer program, which funds 300,000 training places, will be extended.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the government is removing the cap on eligible places and extending the duration of support to 12 months from the date the apprentice commences with their employer,” Morrison said.

His list of future priorities includes an aspiration to become a global research and development (R&D) hub and to harness “reliable, affordable and low-emissions energy”.

While having absorbed pressure from other world leaders on Australia’s continued refusal to raise its emission reduction targets, Morrison appeared to at least be interested in the business opportunities it presents.

“The world’s response to climate change is simultaneously reshaping the global economy, global politics and the global energy system.”

Migration and movement changes to come

Last year’s closed international borders have created a ‘concerning’ migration shortfall of more than 200,000.

As Australia’s rolls out its $6.5 billion vaccination program and inoculates its frontline border staff as a priority, Morrison signalled the federal government will overhaul the conditions applied to its temporary visa program.

“Conditionality is one of the great advantages of the temporary visa program. You can’t put conditions on permanent visas,” he said.

“Those conditions can help us direct where people can go, which can ease pressures in metropolitan areas but hopefully ease pressures in regional areas.”

Chief among those pressures he continued was the 54,000 job vacancies in regional Australia.

“We must relook at the role that temporary visa holders play in meeting our economy’s workforce requirements, where Australians do not fill these jobs,” he said.

So too would new JobSeeker mutual obligations be used to pressure recipients to move interstate.

“If there is a job available, and you are able to do that job, then it is reasonable for taxpayers to expect that it will be taken up, rather than continue to receive benefits,” he said.

“We recently took this action in tandem with the recent increase in the JobSeeker payment. This is a fair exchange.”

So too will the Morrison government demand state governments to provide consistency in order to avoid snap lockdowns.

“What we’re now doing this year I think is very different to 2020. The risk has changed,” he said. “[My office will] develop a new risk management framework for the states and territories and the Commonwealth.”

However, with no ability to overrule state governments, Morrison will also need to find support among premiers to deliver on his promise.

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