The Australian Government says it will spend $400 million to repay victims of the nation’s debt crises in the first half of next year.
Key points:The money is earmarked to pay back debt from the global financial crisis in the early stages of recoveryThis includes paying back loans made to the unemployed and businesses affected by the recessionThe money will be distributed to victims on a “case by case basis”The Government says a majority of the $400M will go to businesses and those who lost their jobsThe money comes in the form of a special “wealth dividend” and will be paid out by the Commonwealth, the Prime Minister said.
“We have to pay for the debt to be paid off, to have our debt and our deficit eliminated,” Mr Hockey said.
It comes after a Senate inquiry heard how the Government was forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the banks and other businesses affected in the global downturn.
It also heard how $2 billion of taxpayer-funded loan guarantees from the Reserve Bank were not returned after the Government lost control of the bank.
“The banks are going to have to pick up the bill, but it is up to the Government to ensure that the debt is paid off and the economy is thriving,” he said.
Mr Hockey also said that the Government would continue to provide funding to people who had lost their homes and jobs to the global recession.
“Our message to Australians is: if you are struggling, you should get help, if you need help, you can get it,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“This is not just for those who were hardest hit, but for those that are most affected.”
What we know so far about the global debt crisisThe global financial downturn of the early 2000s has seen the world’s debt rise by $1.5 trillion and caused the global economy to contract by nearly a third.
It has seen debts in Australia and the United States soar, causing the Australian economy to shrink by more than $10 billion.
“Australia has been hit particularly hard, and this is the first time that this has happened,” Mr Abbott said.
He said the Government’s actions would “re-engage” with Australians, by providing loans and grants to help those affected.
“There is no greater opportunity to help Australians than when we help each other, and we are doing that by helping our small businesses,” he added.
“These are people who have lost their job, or their home, or both.”
It’s a great opportunity for our economy, and to be able to help them get back on their feet again, that’s what we’re doing.
“Mr Abbott also defended the Government on its record on helping those who had been impacted by the financial crisis, saying the Government had done a “good job” of making loans available to those who could not repay.