Mr Hockey urged workers to get their wealthy superannuation funds to pour cash into areas which traditionally have been the monopoly of state and federal governments.
The Treasurer was responding to the six per cent unemployment figure for January — the highest level in a decade — which he said could not be lowered unless the economy was more productive.
“Australia needs to get back to (economic) growth rate of three per cent and beyond to address the rising unemployment rate,” said Mr Hockey. The current growth rate is about 2.8 per cent.
And he said the Government had a strategy to do this.
Last night Mr Hockey revealed he hoped to raise $130 billion from privatisation of state and federal assets. The Commonwealth will offer Medibank Private for sale but today Mr Hockey would not speculate on other sell-offs.
However, he outlined what he saw a significant shift in the funding of major infrastructure programs.
“Government’s around the world have run out of money. Governments around the world have assets,” the Treasurer told reporters.
“The private sector is loaded up with cash.
“In Australia, Australian superannuation funds, including the ones that the union representatives are trustees of, they are investing in infrastructure offshore because there’s not enough to invest in Australia.
“And one of the things that has prevented them from doing it — investing in new infrastructure in Australia ... is there’s no guaranteed return on investment.
“The state and federal governments — primarily the state governments — have assets that have a guaranteed return.
“So what governments have to do is recycle precious taxpayer capital from existing assets, that Australian mums and dads can buy either from their superannuation or on the stock exchange ... into new productive investments that at the end of the day are going to grow the economy.
“At the end of the day if we don’t recycle that money then we are simply limiting our own capacity to grow.”
Mr Hockey said the Labor Opposition and the Greens had to be part of the process to boost growth, by backing removal of carbon pricing: “They’ve got to be part of the partnership. Otherwise it will be more difficult.”
However, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today said the Government did not appear to have a jobs strategy.
“Isn’t it time for the Government to do its day job?” he said.
Mr Shorten told reporters: “Unemployment in Australia is now at its highest level in a decade. The Abbott government has serious questions to answer.
“Over 60,000 full-time jobs have been lost since the Abbott government was elected ... In fact the last time unemployment was this high was when Tony Abbott was Employment Minister.”
news.com.au 13 Feb 2014