Could Centrelink changes sink the economy?

Debate rages over the effect of reductions to key payments.

Image Of A Financial Building Set Against A Stormy Sky

Economic doomsayers are predicting dire economic outcomes as reductions to assistance packages reveal the impact of COVID-19 on Australian jobs and businesses.

And many believe older Australians will be among those hit hardest.

From 25 September, the JobSeeker maximum fortnightly rate for a single household will drop from $1110 to $810, while JobKeeper will be reduced to a maximum of $600 a week from 28 September.

This comes despite Victoria, in particular Melbourne, still experiencing extremely restrictive lockdowns.

It is estimated that 900,000 businesses and more than 3.5 million workers have been supported by the JobKeeper program. The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement doubled many fortnightly unemployment payments.

Commentator Tarric Brooker told that the changes will force hundreds of thousands of businesses to “stand on their own two feet for the first time in six months”. He says approximately 1.3 million workers will lose access to support from the JobKeeper program.

Mr Brooker quotes analysis of business confidence undertaken by consulting firm Taylor Fry and research firm Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) to conclude that the potential closure of small to medium-sized businesses could be a “devastating blow to an already struggling economy” and “the situation for the economy may be more dire than the current consensus suggests”.

Then there are loan deferrals. Hundreds of thousands of mortgage customers and 100,000 small business loan-holders are due to be contacted by banks to recommence repayments.

“The missed payments need to be made up, and the extra interest is added on top. Of course, not everyone will be able to do so. People have lost their jobs. Australia’s unemployment rate is 7.5 per cent and rising. The total amount of wages paid is down by 5 per cent,” writes economist Jason Murphy.

He believes the knock-on effect of this process could be devastating.

“Yes, banks will give some people extra time to find a new job. But not everyone. People will, in some cases, be forced to make the horrible decision to sell their homes to repay the loans,” Mr Murphy writes.

He says as the ‘tidal wave’ of loan deferral phone calls begins, all of us will be affected by the reduction in retail spending and possible forced sales of houses to repay mortgages. He quotes Commonwealth Bank predictions of a 10 per cent fall in Melbourne house prices and a six per cent national fall.

None of this is good news for older Australians.

At the outset of the pandemic in March, Australians aged between 45 and 65 made up about half of all unemployment support recipients. This had risen by nearly 25 per cent over the past six years.

National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke was calling for a lift in the Jobseeker Payment.

“Older Australians struggle to find a job, struggle to make ends meet,” he said.

Judy Higgins, general manager of recruitment agency, says the JobSeeker payment for the mature unemployed person was ‘diabolical’.

In June, the Brotherhood of St Laurence published a report that stated up to 30 per cent of the newly unemployed or underemployed nearly 400,000 Australians were aged between 51 and 65.

The Australia Institute senior economist Matt Grudnoff told YourLifeChoices that retirees had not seen any advantage from lower childcare and petrol costs because they were staying at home and travelling less.

The impact of the pandemic on older women has been especially troubling.

“It is not only particularly dangerous to the health of older women, it has also increased their social isolation and exacerbated their precarious financial position, Augustine Zycher wrote for ProBono Australia.

“Indeed, if you are a woman over 50 in Australia and have no financial security, your prospects are increasingly grim. You may well face long-term unemployment, impoverishment and even homelessness.

“For those women who are already retired, the pandemic has increased the numbers who will age into poverty and homelessness. Older women who are desperate enough to withdraw their super during COVID-19 will be left totally vulnerable. Unlike young people, there is no chance of them ever replacing their super. As it is, women retire with around 47 per cent less super than men, if they have any super at all.”

However, some commentators are finding silver linings from the pandemic.

John Edwards, senior fellow at the Lowy Institute, says despite Victoria’s second wave of infection, Australia’s economic recovery from the coronavirus is underway.

“Though formidable, the fiscal challenge is well within Australia’s means … Australia is emerging from the pandemic sooner and at less economic cost than widely expected.

“Reckoning total COVID-19 fatalities compared to population at less than one thirtieth of the US or the UK rate, the handling of the crisis by Australian governments, hospitals, healthcare workers, and public officials has been more successful than in some comparable countries. So, too, the economic response has been swift, well targeted, and substantial.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Australia's economy to do much better than most advanced economies.”

Employment figures have also been better than expected. Official figures released in mid-September more than 100,000 new jobs were created in Australia in August. The official unemployment rate fell to 6.8 per cent, down from 7.5 per cent in July.

Sue-Lin Ong, chief economist at RBC Capital Markets told ABC News: “Outside of Victoria, there's clearly some recovery going on in the broader labour market.”

ABC commentator Gareth Hutchens believes weak wage growth is the biggest challenge facing the economy, because Australians are reluctant to spend when uncertain, which hurts the retail sector.

“Growth in real household disposable income has averaged 3.1 per cent since 2007, but between 2016 and 2019 it averaged just 1.4 per cent.

“That occurred because there was a slowdown in both income growth and non-labour income growth – things like social security and rental income.

“Money for non-essentials has become so tight, any unexpected or unplanned expense could throw out entire household budgets. And at the same time, taxes were increasing.

“The ratio of tax paid as a share of gross income was 11.8 per cent in mid-2010, but it climbed to 15 per cent by the end of 2019.”

He says tax cuts won’t fully address systemic issues in the economy and the issue of weak wages growth existed long before the pandemic and bushfires.

“The ‘coronacession’ has put a spotlight on the structural problems in the economy that tax cuts alone won't address. Tax cuts are no substitute for strong wage growth. Consumers are likelier to spend more when their wages are growing strongly.”

ABC business editor Ian Verrender even says there have been economic benefits to pandemic shutdowns.

He says iron ore shortfalls have been filled by Australian miners Rio Tinto, Fortescue, and BHP, which have gone into overdrive, shipping record quantities.

“Exports to China are up more than 8 per cent compared a year ago and in the financial year to June 30, the commodity cracked the $100 billion export mark, up from the previous year's record $77.5 billion.”

Mr Verrender argues against the notion that harsh measures like lockdowns punish the economy for generations to come.

“When intensive care and emergency units are overloaded, people with medical conditions other than COVID-19 suffer and die, productivity plummets and confidence dives.

He cites a recent study by global management group McKinsey that reminds us it is not lockdowns that have caused the recession, it’s the pandemic.

“Ending lockdowns alone won't restore confidence or growth,” the study says.

“Only when the novel coronavirus is under control will economic growth resume.”

The study found only a weak link between lockdowns and economic damage.

“Sweden, which had a lax approach during the first round of the virus, performed only mildly better than New Zealand's economy, which pursued the toughest strategy of any nation,” Mr Verrender points out.

He says Victoria’s extreme lockdown measures will delay national economic recovery by as much as a year.

But had the harsh measures not been implemented, it would only have been a question of time before a national disaster.

He says Australians are saving “like never before almost 20 per cent of income is being socked away”.

“That's not an altogether bad thing for a nation vying for gold in the global household indebtedness stakes.

“But all that saving means Australians aren't spending. And that's bad for business and, ultimately, employment.”

He supports the study’s argument that nations pursuing more stringent lockdowns are more likely to perform better over the longer term.

“Nations pursuing a balancing act trying to live with what they deem to be an acceptable level of infection will struggle to rebuild confidence when compared to those opting for a near zero infection level, similar to our strategy.

“That's because they are more likely to experience outbreaks.”

McKinsey estimates for every three months' delay in getting the virus under control across OECD countries, the recovery in GDP to pre-crisis levels could be delayed by as much as six months.

“It's what economists call opportunity cost. The cost of doing nothing, or not enough,” Mr Verrender writes.

“Killing the virus comes at enormous cost doing nothing will cost more.”

How do you think Australia is faring economically? Are you saving more money since the pandemic hit?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    22nd Sep 2020
    If our pollies, no matter the colour of their ties, saw the pandemic as an economic opportunity instead of a debt bomb we in Australia could lead the economic world into the future. Renewable energy - we have the technology, the rare earth minerals and manufacturing capacity to leap ahead. Energy - we have the greatest known reserves of gas in the world, which we could use instead of selling off dirt cheap for other countries to exploit. How come our natural gas is much cheaper in India and Indonesia than at home? Electric vehicle manufacture? We have the technology, resources and skilled labour to begin manufacture now. The cost of labour? As Elon Musk and others world visionary leaders have shown, manufacturing at home, with modern robotics, is the least of our concerns. What's missing? We're stuck in the 20th century with coal driven minds running the country when what we need is broad vision, a national plan for the next decade and beyond and the will to succeed. Money to fund it all? Easy - offer all of us government bonds with a TAX FREE guaranteed return - the government would be overwhelmed with offers to buy! Ah well, dream on, no pollie in AUS thinks beyond the next election anyway. How long before the gap between the actual skilled workers and the idle rich grows to the point when the terms "master" and "serf" reappear in our AUS vocabulary?
    Joy Anne
    22nd Sep 2020
    Totally agree
    22nd Sep 2020
    Agree Buggsie. We have leaders locked into the old outdated notions of economic thought.
    They still think trickle down economics actually works. This will be proven if they insist on the handing out tax cuts to those who don't really need them.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Totally agree with Buggsie and Joy. Our Pollies seem to have this we are a small player and can't move without the big boys i.e. US, UK etc. We are not minnows we can stand on our own 2 feet. Let's just do it - get on with it - we could do very well.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Yes I think you are right Buggsie.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Unfortunately voters keep putting the same wealthy pollies back into government, Tanker. Pollies know the trickle down doesn’t work but, because of their wealth, they get the tax cuts so they don’t care and the majority of voters still haven’t realised that the only trickle they’ll get is the c**p that has been filtered through various digestive systems..
    26th Sep 2020
    We don't own our resources though as foreign extractors have owned them since 1788.

    The Australian Agricultural Company is UK owned. Always has been.

    Even our public services are now privately owned by very large foreign corporations.

    At least 25% of GDP flows overseas annually.

    It's too late now as Corporations are dreadfully hard to get rid of and they may go broke but they don't die.
    22nd Sep 2020
    “For those women who are already retired, the pandemic has increased the numbers who will age into poverty and homelessness. Older women who are desperate enough to withdraw their super during COVID-19 will be left totally vulnerable.“

    This statement doesn’t make sense. Anyone over 60 and retired can withdraw their super any time they like. I can’t see why they would need to do it any more during a pandemic than they would otherwise. It’s people who are not retired, and lose their job / income because of the pandemic that will suffer by drawing on their super.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Fedup, I agree. What a ridiculous statement.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Fedup. apart from illustrating the indifferent English language skills of some journalists, I suggest the intended meaning may have been different to to your interpretation. The term 'Older women' may not necessarily refer to those over 60, the context suggests to me that it probably refers to over 50s, those within a few years of retiring with probable minimal chance of replacing withdrawn super. Again bad English leads to possible erroneous interpretations.
    26th Sep 2020
    My young granddaughter spends enough getting her eyebrows shaped, her tails done and facials to make her self funded in retirement. Pity delaying gratification has gone out of existence as normal practise.

    Women who chose not to work or not to save over the decades cannot expect to have enough savings in retirement.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Before the pandemic I was ministering nightly on the streets of eastern Melbourne and many of those I met were single women aged 50 and older who'd lost the ability to pay for rents...When JobSeeker ends these women and many many more will be back on the streets simply because there are insufficient affordable rentals even if they share with 3 or more others.
    22nd Sep 2020
    The fact remains , not everyone has super and many have already paid out .
    I just can't get over the ignorance on those blogs.
    Check the divorce rate and see the percentage of divorces from 45 to 60, then take the super divide it by half ,take the remainder off the home loan and any other monies owed and check what you have left.

    It is a fallacy about super , not that many actually have it or will have it after retirement .
    It that time of life what are your chances of starting over again and generating income ? For the majority it is nil and this is a crises on it's way .
    The Thinker
    22nd Sep 2020
    Many Australians are selling up and moving to the country. That means more jobs will be in the country. Investing in a van and doing farm work could get them out of their plight. It could provide them with travel opportunities to settle in a country town they like.
    22nd Sep 2020
    The Thinker - I really doubt whether people in the older age bracket are physically capable of doing "farm" work. Also a lot of country towns don't have enough jobs for the people who live in the area that's why the young ones have to move to the bigger cities.
    22nd Sep 2020
    The Thinker, it doesn't follow that there will be more jobs in the country just because people are selling up and moving there. For many they (and their employers) have realised that working from home can be done without living in the same city as your employer. If they move to the country, they take their job with them. If they leave that job there is no guarantee that someone else from the same country town will replace them.

    I do agree though that there are opportunitikes in farming particularly short term for the unemployed. In fact I would like to see it made a condition of collecting benefits that those able bodied be bussed out to farmers and they earn their money. In many cases picking fruit will pay a great deal more than jobseeker payments once the COVID supplement is withdrawn as it will be.
    26th Sep 2020
    It's going to be a mess though KSS.

    I personally know of two young women who used the extra covid money to move out of their parents home into a rental. Neither have worked just had some babies which they see as their job the" Gubment" should pay them to do.

    As they seem unable to see even six months ahead t is obvious although they are having a fun time now that the future will be quite bleak once the money dries up.

    We can't save the foolish from consequences unfortunately and I'm starting to think we should let the learning proceed.

    I lost my house when Keating's Government refused to help in high interest times.

    It is what it is and as Gump says, Stupid is as stupid does.
    Horace Cope
    22nd Sep 2020
    "How do you think Australia is faring economically? Are you saving more money since the pandemic hit?"

    The debt caused by COVID-19 will take more than this generation to be recovered but the actions taken by various levels of government have been primarily to keep citizens health as the first priority. Some states are recovering economically while others are lagging behind but, overall, I believe the balance between health and the economy is heading in the right direction. It must be remembered that none of us was prepared for this and there was no blueprint on how to handle a pandemic although because we are an island, closing the borders was easier than other countries.

    We received the grant from the federal government but as we are in isolation with only necessary shopping being carried out, we have not spent all of the grant. In NSW, eligible pensioners also got a transport credit card from the state government for $250 and, ironically, at the same time fuel companies dropped the prices to below $1/litre when we have nowhere to go.
    23rd Sep 2020
    The NSW Seniors transport credit card is only for people in regional areas and did not cover a large percentage of NSW Aged Pensioners, who were not eligible because we had access to public transport, but we're told to avoid public transport as we are high risk!
    26th Sep 2020
    I have been saving but also brought forward some minor maintenance needed on house and car and purchase of non perishable needed items. I'm not entirely convinced inflation won't get away. I hope not but I'm looking at all the mad spending in my tourist village and it seems money is easy and the young are having fun spending just as fast as they can.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Not sure that I agree with the economists on Covid? When the data is analyzed in years to come, I think they will discover far more died with Covid than of it. Still a nasty disease , especially for the old and vulnerable.
    I think distancing, hand hygiene and testing is more effective than lockdowns in the medium term. We will have to come to terms with the virus, as it will likely become endemic, and locations, states and countries can't stay locked down forever.
    22nd Sep 2020
    The big problem has been that too many, mainly young people, ignored the earlier restrictions on the basis it won't affect them. They have turned out to be the ones most responsible for the spread of the virus.
    There is still quite a degree of either ignorance, or total self interest, out there and this pandemic is something out of the ordinary. I guess there will always be those who resist acting for the common good but insist on acting to meet their individual selfish needs.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Tanker your wrong in your first sentence, but can not say more or the card will be used.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Ronin, I do not accept your contention that some people died with Covid-19 rather than of Covid-19. It is like saying someone shot through the heart died of cardiac arrest rather than a gunshot wound.
    Notwithstanding that some people may have compromised lungs, or kidneys, or heart, or other 'under-lying' health conditions which may eventually have fatal outcomes, the primary cause of death would be Covid-19, even if they would have survived just one more day if they had not contracted Covid-19.
    24th Sep 2020
    Eddy, I'd like to know the REAL figures, because I know how numbers are fudged for political gain. Many years ago, I met a former NSW Chief of Police. He told me that when the government wanted to change the drink-driving laws, politicians instructed him to ensure fatal accident reports stated alcohol was the cause of death. He said the instructions were, quite clearly, that even if there was only an empty beer can in the boot of the car, and the driver was a non-drinker, he was to state that 'alcohol was a factor in causing the fatality'. He said this kind of political interference to fudge statistics was routine - standard practice. Happened all the time. You just had to look at what the government wanted to do to predict what the major cause of accidents or deaths would be said to be, and the statistics were NEVER to be trusted.

    Not saying COVID-19 isn't deadly. Just interested to know to what extent politics might have influenced reported statistics.
    24th Sep 2020
    I read an article how the CDC in USA asked doctors to report people dying of covid even if they had not been tested but was suspected of having covid. There was a nurse who spoke up about it and lost her job. So it is possible.
    Country John
    22nd Sep 2020
    Surprise surprise surprise. What is this government trying to do to us. If COVID doesn't get us the starvation and homelessness will. I don't agree with the extra money still being paid out to the unemployed. Most of the country is returning to normal which means there should be jobs available for many. No, not all. I am on the pension. My super has gone in legal fees after my ex left me. She took much of our savings prior to separation which I cannot do anything about as it was all in joint names. So all I have left is the pension and the air ticket to the Phillippines when borders reopen. I wont be able to live like a king but sure wont be like a serf either. I do remember a former treasurer and primeminister saying Australia will become a banana republic. Maybe just maybe this might be starting now??? Does anybody else remember that statement from Paul Keating???
    22nd Sep 2020
    Where are the jobs for half of the unemployed who are in the older age bracket?

    "At the outset of the pandemic in March, Australians aged between 45 and 65 made up about half of all unemployment support recipients. This had risen by nearly 25 per cent over the past six years."
    22nd Sep 2020
    We just need prices like in the philippines and you can stay here. Why are prices too high and never mentioned much when we really need higher interest rates to stop prices inflating,
    23rd Sep 2020
    Rae, very simple to answer mate "Why are prices too high and never mentioned much when we really need higher interest rates to stop prices inflating" as more expensive are thing in Australia more expensive are the taxes, the Gov. wants that!!
    22nd Sep 2020
    The only reason I have a slight increase in bank balance is that I sold two collectible cars before the rot set in, but am gradually spending it on essentials. Would have liked to save it for overseas holidays later on, but that's unlikely.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Where it said
    iron ore shortfalls have been filled by Australian miners Rio Tinto, Fortescue, and BHP, which have gone into overdrive, shipping record quantities.
    The average Australian does not see much advantage from these massive revenues. Countries like Saudi support their citizens better with their similar oil exports.
    Also the intended tax cuts for the high earners will not help the economy as those people usually just bank those increases.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Saudi only support the citizens who toe the line and do as they are told.
    23rd Sep 2020
    Amazes me to see how many Aussies always think the grass greener somewhere else. Now Saudi Arabia? Before it was the Scandinavian countries, in those you get the nuts taxed off you. If you pay half your income in tax you'd expect some return from it. Here you can sit on your bum all your life and still get the same deal in old age pension (as long as you own nothing that is). So this country is still the best there is regarding getting old.
    22nd Sep 2020
    We were already in economic recession before Covid-19 hit, the Govt was just making sure the key media outlets didn't report it, as they are in the Govt's pocket.

    We can recover from this in 12 months economically if the Federal Govt offshore/remote quarantines all returning travellers (not in central CBDs)

    But what the Govt is using Covid-19 for is to ignore the resource scarcity that will emerge in the next 10 years regarding our water, food supply and ramifications from environmental neglect. They are spearheading with CSG developments and ignoring the need to transition the economic model towards renewables instead of fossil fuels. And they are pushing us into more debt subsidising their fossil fuel mates. CSG releases methane gas in the first two decades after its release, and is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Guess what that's going to do to the atmosphere and ocean. The Govt has fossilised plans despite the expertise from science, environment, economics and business (except mining) telling them this expansion is not the solution.
    22nd Sep 2020
    So true, we have dinosaurs as leaders in this country.
    22nd Sep 2020
    For those thinking that renewables are the panacea for all of our energy issues you might like to read about Germany’s failed experiment with renewable energy.
    22nd Sep 2020
    You may also like to consider why SA, the leader in renewables in Australia, is talking about cutting the feed-in of solar energy this summer, to ensure stability of the grid.

    In addition, consider just how much it will cost, both money-wise and in greenhouse gases, to produce sufficient battery storage to get us through bleak winter days in reasonable comfort, as well as providing sufficient energy for the return to our own manufacturing industries, instead of importing so much processed products from our "benevolent friend" China.

    Plus we will have to build new factories, and preferably build our own robots etc, rather than importing them from overseas too.

    Hint: we won't be able to do it without stable, baseload power, and at least at the moment, we don't have it with renewables. Why we have not been working on researching this with CSIRO, our universities and private enterprise, then moving to export our products and technology, has had me surprised for years.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Don't know where you are getting your information from Catwzl49 but any other technology for so called carbon capture or "clean" coal will cost more, and keeping old power stations going is costing more, as well as the fact they are all subsidized heavily.
    24th Sep 2020
    Two things, Incognito.
    Firstly, I haven't mentioned carbon capture, or "clean" coal, let alone the outdated current coal powered stations.
    Secondly, you haven't answered or even disputed any of what I said.
    What are you doing for baseload power, especially if we go back to manufacturing 24/7. That's an important question that needs an answer.
    SA can currently produce more than 100% of its needs on some sunny or windy days. But it can't, at this stage, store much of it for night time use. It can produce power to pump water up hills, but probably not South Australian hills.
    How much did the "big battery" cost again? And that's before you include the costs in greenhouse gas emissions, remediation of associated mining sites and all the rest. Hopefully today it would be cheaper because technology may have improved to give more bang for buck. But it's not to provide storage for eight to ten hours of manufacturing overnight. Rather, it is to reduce/prevent fluctuations for seconds up to a couple of minutes in the event of a catostrophic failure, as in the "big blackout" or to stabilise the grid.
    You haven't answered why SA is threatening to cut out rooftop solar at times during this summer if there is too much production so as to keep the grid stable. I presume my batteries will nevertheless continue to function to power my home, but could be wrong.
    Baseload power could certainly come from coal, but production has to ramped up well in advance, due to expected need - it's not instantaneous, so even without the greenhouse gas implications, it's not a good answer.
    Gas maybe not as long to ramp up, but still not instantaneous, but less polluting in the use of it. The production by fracking is another argument, but seems not to worry most of the rest of the world that is able to produce gas that way.
    Nuclear power is dealt with by yourself and another correspondent below. I would query that it is so costly that it requires military involvement. I don't believe that the waste problems are insurmountable except possibly in the short term. After all, it is less than 117 years since the Wright Brothers first flew at Kittyhawk. And I, personally, would not be particularly worried about living near a secure nuclear waste dump - people already do around Lucas Heights and the hospitals that use radioactive materials in medicine.
    All suggestions of greenhouse gas production in the mining of materials, transport and production of concrete, steel, turbines, solar panels, pipelines and other requirements for producing green power - totally ignored.
    So not too far off shooting the messenger, rather than rebut the arguments.
    I'd love to hear some answers, with science included, because I don't know what they are, although I hope that they do exist.
    So back to you.
    24th Sep 2020
    I am no expert, I read articles about it and I think we can achieve it if we put less money into subsidizing the trillion dollar coal industries. Also there is a problem with infrastructure supporting renewables, so this has to fixed also.
    Here is some articles that I have read:

    So who is holding it all back??
    22nd Sep 2020
    I would like to know where are these 100,000 jobs created? And how many hours do they work? They count someone who has a job for one hour a week as employed. Watch the figures of unemployment rise when JobKeeper ends and many businesses will close.
    22nd Sep 2020
    We actually got to save for a change during the shutdown because we couldn't do anything. I am sure there are older people like us who did the same. We didn't have to take our super or more money out as we had the same bills and less places to spend the rest?
    22nd Sep 2020
    Agree Tzuki, I wonder what I spent our money on before Covid-19, apart from not buying fuel, about $200 to $250 per month, I figure we must have saved at around $1000 per month since March and I cannot figure where the savings came from.
    Lets see, no Red Rooster, no fish and chips, no impulse buying, no Bunnings, no 'little treats' when shopping, no AFL footy (including chips, pies and/or hot dogs), no chips and coffee at kids soccer games, ditto at their tennis, no visits to plant nurseries, no birthday, anniversary or mothers/fathers day gifts (they may only be in abeyance and catch up is expected), no holidays (we had to cancel 3), missed a family wedding in Perth, no dinners at RSL (plus $5 on pokies) and etc etc.
    Just shows how much we could economise if needed.
    22nd Sep 2020
    We have had a NUCLEAR REACTOR in Sydney, (Menai), since the 50's. People work there & live alongside it. Properly controlled NUCLEAR POWER, is the only way to go. We sell our URANIUM overses's & watch as India, China, etcetera get CHEAP POWER. Oz is run by MORONS. About time for a REPUBLIC. No pollies involved. It is our chance to get rid of the clowns.
    22nd Sep 2020
    Boof you can keep the nuclear waste/spent rods in your back yard how's that?
    23rd Sep 2020
    The cost of a nuclear power is so high it can only be built by the defence department, which happened in America, but now these "free" Nuclear power stations are closing down, or have closed down because coal was cheaper,, now the majority of coal generation as it was in the US is down to 11% of the usa's power.
    Boof, you need to look a bit harder at the history of the Nuclear Industry before wishing it on the rest of us.
    26th Sep 2020
    As well as nationalising the mines, and the gas fields and pipeline, an uranium industry was planned by Whitlam for that $4 billion loan from the Saudis. Pity about that hey!

    We might have been the wealthy nation we pretend to be now while living on trillions of private debt.
    22nd Sep 2020
    These older Australians need to band together to force govt to give them their entitlements, wether they on Jobseekers, Jobkeeper or the age pension.
    The LNP has a philosophy and ideology of trickle down economics. The only thing I know that trickles down is shit running Dow your leg.
    This Fed government is stuffing up the economic recovery by giving tax cuts to the rich and other handouts like the renovators scheme. These will not stimulate the economy.
    Give the pensioners and Jobseekers a decent and respectable wage, who will be spent and thereby boost the economy. Also, build infrastructure eg public housing as an investment in the future and boost the recovery.
    One thing is for sure. If the government doesn't do these things, it will be voted out of office at the next election, and good riddance.
    26th Sep 2020
    Yes and Labor will increase GST, taxes, land taxes, cut self funded incomes and perhaps an inheritance tax. Good for those who just spend and don't save but what happens when nobody bothers to work or save for everyone else's benefit?
    23rd Sep 2020
    No Australian that has been in this country and contributing to this country for more than 10 years should ever have to live under the poverty line. Elderly people that have worked here all their working lives have every right to live comfortable life. The Australian Government owes it to them. They should be paid a Government pension to give them this. A pension/welfare payments should only be for our lifelong Australians.
    23rd Sep 2020
    WE already have one of the most generous Pensions in the world, what are you talking about?
    23rd Sep 2020
    Many of the elderly experienced their working lives during a period when workforce participation rates were a little over 60%. This begs the question whether you feel those not participating in the workforce should share the rights of the lifelong Australians that did.

    Does "contributing" to this country for more than 10 years but less than a lifetime make one a lifelong Australian?
    23rd Sep 2020
    Economics is a complicated process as a study.
    Tax incentives to coal are the same as tax incentives to renewable. They both increase employment and the wealth of the people higher up the food chain. The same with economic stimulus.
    Trickle down and multiplier effects are behind all such initiatives. It does work although no one has figured out a way to do it perfectly.
    26th Sep 2020
    When you build a service economy based on coffees, cake and eating out, holidaying in Bali and renovating homes to luxury levels a pandemic is bound to cause problems.

    Around here the coffee is flowing , the tourists arriving in droves and restaurants full.
    A night at the club will set a couple back at least $120 and they are full mainly of pensioners, poor though they think they are.

    Those people saving are the ones maybe expecting food prices to rise. Or electricity or rates. Or an appliance break down.

    Those still spending on fine living should not whine when they can't afford the next bill.

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