One of the issues that may not have gotten the attention of most Australians is the financial crisis that has gripped the country.
The Federal Government’s $2.4 trillion stimulus package, which is the largest ever to be delivered to the economy, has been viewed by some as the most significant economic policy of the country’s modern history.
The package is estimated to have boosted economic growth by more than 5 per cent in the past three years.
In a recent interview with Fairfax Media, Treasurer Joe Hockey said he expected the economy to return to its pre-crisis level by 2021-22, which would be the longest stretch of sustained economic growth since the 1930s.
But that optimism has been tempered by the fact that a number of the measures implemented in the package have been controversial.
In December, the Federal Government announced a $7.2 billion “tax credit” scheme for parents who paid for their children’s education.
In April, the Government announced $1.8 billion to help the unemployed and low-income earners who have been hit by the global financial crisis, while in July it announced $600 million to help small businesses.
The Treasurer’s comments have been met with criticism from some who say they do not go far enough to help low- and middle-income families.
The Government’s proposed measures have been criticised for failing to tackle some of the key issues facing Australian households, such as the lack of jobs available, anemic wages, high unemployment and rising poverty.
The Government has also been accused of pandering to the big business lobby by offering incentives for companies to hire people from overseas, with the promise of significant economic growth for Australians.
In an interview with Business Insider, the Treasurer also confirmed that a further $1 billion will be spent on a $2 billion infrastructure program to help build Australia’s rail network.
But the plan has also sparked a backlash from some, including the ABC’s Ben Stiller, who says it would be a waste of money and a waste that would be far too limited.
“There is absolutely no justification for the Government’s plan, given the fact the Government has already spent $2 trillion in stimulus funds, and they have only spent about $1 trillion on the roads.
And yet we’re now going to spend $700 million on building a rail line for $2billion,” he said.
Despite the controversy, the Treasury says the Government will spend $1,000 on a school to school program.
ABC/Reuters ABC: What you need to know about the debt crisis in Australia.