Pre-Budget Special: Australians back decisive market intervention in forthcoming Federal Budget

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Australians are looking to the Morrison Government to take bold market interventions as the most important post-COVID economic initiatives ahead of the Federal Budget. In a series of special pre-Budget questions, we found some 81% believe it’s important to revive local manufacturing industries while 75% believe it’s important to increase government funds to support small businesses.

This week’s SEC Newgate Research survey of 1,801 people, taken Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 September, also suggests the community expects to see some cash splashed around next Tuesday night. Overall, 54% supported increased overall spending, even if this means more debt with only 13% opposed to this.

Meanwhile Government will be relieved that the community is in lock-step with increasing liberalisation of coronavirus restrictions. The proportion of people who say Australia is responding at an appropriate level continues to rise steadily (78% up from 76% last week and 69% six weeks ago) with only 11% believing we are over-reacting or not taking it seriously enough

Economic Priorities 

In addition to manufacturing and small business noted above, the other top priorities were:

  • Financial support for those facing financial difficulties until the economy has fully recovered (72% felt this is “very” or “fairly important”)
  • Increasing investment in telecommunications and transport in regions to improve connectivity (69%)
  • More spending on large-scale nation building infrastructure (66%)
  • Investing in Snowy 2.0 to assist the transition to renewable energy (65%)
  • Providing greater access to finance through making home and business lending easier (63%)
  • Boosting residential construction projects (63%)
  • Prioritising gas-fuelled power generation to assist in the transition to renewable energy (60%)
  • Investing in high-speed rail connecting capital cities and regions (55%)

Out from the shadows of the virus

Over the past month the economy has become clearly established as the number one prompted concern of Australians, with concern about the coronavirus tracking downwards to its lowest level since May, before the second wave:

  • Prompted concern about the virus is now at 71%, down 15 points compared with eight weeks ago.
  • A clear and growing majority believe the spread of the virus will get better in three months (56%) and in one year (73%).
  • Predictions for the economy continue to improve, with nearly six in 10 (58%) now believing it will improve in a year (up from 55% last week and 50% two weeks ago).
  • Concern about job security is also dropping (52% down from 57% last week and a peak of 72% five months ago).


Government performance ticks up

Confidence in Government has steadied nationally. There has been a significant increase in the proportion who agree the Government is taking appropriate measures to protect people’s health (78% up from 74% last week). Victorians remain least likely to agree that the restrictions are fair and reasonable, and their level of agreement with this is declining (64% down from 68% last week).

Growing calls to open state borders by Christmas

As a measure of growing public confidence in the direction of events, support for state borders to be opened by Christmas has increased significantly this week from 63% to 67%. Victorians (76%) and NSW residents (72%) remain most supportive while the majority of those in WA (55%) remain opposed.

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