Labor leader Anthony Albanese has slammed the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying it needs to “lift its game”.
Speaking to business leaders, Mr Albanese called out what he believes is structural weakness in the Australian economy, saying “a never ending victory lap is no substitute for an economic plan.”.
“The potential scale of the global economic impact of coronavirus is clear,” Mr Albanese said.
“That it comes on the back of our already feeble economic indicators is deeply concerning.”
Mr Albanese criticised the fact that the federal government had reallocated funds for areas affected by the bushfires to its coronavirus response and questioned whether the Coalition could keep Australia from slipping into a recession.
“Labor will examine any measures put forward by the government constructively, but it will need to lift its game, change its rhetoric and start to look after the long-term national interest,” Mr Albanese said.
“Right now, we need stimulus and strategies to assist specific individuals such as casual workers, as well as our most vulnerable sectors such as small business and the tourism sector.”
Mr Albanese also used the speech to reiterate a call to bring forward Stage 2 of the government’s tax cuts, increase business investment and infrastructure spending, and increase the Newstart allowance.
The comments come as the federal government prepares to unveil a multibillion-dollar virus stimulus that will likely include investment incentives but steer clear of any “helicopter money”-style handout similar to that seen under the Rudd government – something Mr Albanese praised, saying it was “revered internationally”.
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