Event: Business Council president Tim Reed interview with David Koch, Sunrise
Speakers: Tim Reed, David Koch
Date: 12 March 2020
Topics: Coronavirus response
David Koch, host: Now, the Prime Minister will today unveil full details of his $10 billion stimulus package in a bid to avoid recession caused by coronavirus. The government will spend $1.3 billion to pay half the wages of apprentices and trainees in small businesses with less than 20 employees. There is also a $25,000 cash boost for the employees of almost 8 million Australians. The instant asset write-off scheme will be expanded from $30,000 to $150,000, allowing those with a turnover of up to $500 million to invest in things including vehicles and equipment and tech. And welfare recipients will each get a one off $500 payment to stimulate the economy. For more we're joined by Tim Reed from the Business Council of Australia. Tim, good morning to you.
Tim Reed, Business Council President: Kochie, great to be here.
Kochie: We're seeing a bit of an inkling of what this stimulus package will look like. Will it keep us out of recession? Is it enough?
Tim: Look, let's hope it is. There is no doubt that if you're going to do these things you need to go big and you need to go early. And from what we've heard this is north of $10 billion and I think that was the range that it needed to be in. If you're at one, two billion, forget it. I think north of $10 billion is the right place to be. Right now, there's a lot that's happening and we're learning as we go. But I think this also means that if we need more the government will have capacity to come back and do more later.
Kochie: Because it was interesting, credit rating agencies said our triple A credit rating is not in jeopardy even after this stimulus package. It shows how solid our economy is to fight this.
Tim: And with credit to the government, there's been a lot of hard work to put the budget in this place so that we can afford that and keep the credit rating.
Kochie: A focus on small business bosses not to get spooked with this, to keep staff employed?
Tim: Yeah. Look, I heard the Prime Minister speak a couple of days ago and he said, "we want to keep workers in jobs, we want to keep business in business and we want to make sure that we come out the other side stronger" because this will pass. This isn't like 2008 where it's going to be long and protracted. This is a health crisis that is flowing into an economic one. And so we will come through the health and we want the economy to come out the other side. This is great for small businesses. Keeping apprentices in work by paying 50% of their salaries is fantastic. The cash injection, which will come in April and June for most businesses when they submit their BAS, that is fantastic because that means they'll be able to keep staff on, keep paying staff, keep their doors open. And the increase in the instant asset write off, which as you know, really means that a business gets the tax deduction when they pay for an asset, rather than taking that tax deduction over five or 10 years, will mean that their tax payments are less. So there's more coming back to the business as well.
Kochie: We might check back in with you once the whole thing's announced, but good signs at the moment. Let's hope they deliver. I appreciate your time, Tim.