The latest measures announced by the federal government will not be the last, with the final bill for the stimulus likely to run into the hundreds of billions.
On Sunday, the government announced its second stimulus package, $66.1 billion in economic support for households and businesses. That includes a time-limited “coronavirus supplement” that will be paid to both existing and new recipients of government benefits, including Newstart recipients, for a period of six months.
The package will also allow Australians to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation if they’re experiencing financial hardship, and provide up to $100,000 for small and medium-sized businesses in order to pay their bills and retain staff.
“We will be supercharging our safety net,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Sunday.
“We’ll be supporting the most vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis. Those who will feel those first blows. To preserve the businesses that comprise our economy so on the other side, they can bounce back strongly and don’t have to reassemble themselves from the ruins of failed businesses,” he said.
But the stimulus, while sweeping, is unlikely to be the last.
“This will not be the Treasurer and my last visit to these podiums, to make announcements on these measures,” Prime Minister Morrison said.
“This is the next tranche. It’s focusing on those who are going to feel the first blows. There will be more packages. There will be more support. There will be more issues that even now haven’t presented themselves or even couldn’t be conceived at this point with what we may face over the next six months.”
The Prime Minister and Treasurer have previously indicated that measures must be “targeted, modest, and scalable” while talking down any comparisons to the Rudd era stimulus that saw many Australians receive payments of almost a thousand dollars as a direct injection of liquidity into the economy.
However, with almost a hundred billion already devoted to business, it’s unclear what new measures the government can pursue as part of its third stimulus without resorting to the use of Rudd-era helicopter money.
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