Foreign workers in Australia who have lost their jobs in the coronavirus crisis should go home, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Sunday.
“If there is no work for them, they can go back to their home country, that is an option for them,” Frydenberg said on national broadcaster ABC’s Insiders morning programme on Sunday.
He was asked whether the government would extend its 130-billion-dollar (65 billion U.S. dollars) programme subsidising employers to keep on workers during the economic freeze to include foreign workers and more casual workers.
Frydenberg said government spending of a total of 320 billion dollars (203 billion U.S. dollars) on keeping jobs and supporting jobless workers was a significant hit to the public purse and “the line had to be drawn somewhere.”
He did not have advice on how foreign workers could get home with hardly any planes flying.
Frydenberg said there will be a significant rise in unemployment and reduction in the rate of economic growth as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
“There is going to be a big hole in the global economy, there’s no doubt about that.”
Economists forecast an unemployment rate of 5.4 per cent for March when figures are released on Thursday, a jump of 0.3 per cent on February.
April unemployment is expected to be more than 10 per cent.
Education Minister Dan Tehan announced fees for retraining and university will be slashed so that people can use their time in lockdown to study for new careers in areas such as nursing, teaching, IT and science. (dpa/NAN)