From today's AGE:
First home-owner deadline looms: Rudd
April 23, 2009 - 1:06PM
The boost to the first home owners grant will not be extended beyond June 30, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has suggested.
"The first home owner's boost, as you know, we have indicated that will conclude within a very fixed and finite time frame," he told reporters in Perth.
"It's had strong useful results so far, but I have got to say all good things must come to an end."
The grant was raised from $7000 to $14,000 for existing dwellings and from $14,000 to $21,000 for new homes as part of the government's $10.4 billion stimulus package last year.
Mr Rudd said the Government was still measuring the full effects of the boost but it was important the community understood deadlines were imposed for a particular purpose.
Withdrawing the grant could hit some families hard.
Today, Treasurer Wayne Swan said he could not guarantee that the jobless rate won't hit double digits after a ''bleak'' report form the International Monetary Fund on the global economy.
Releasing its latest World Economic Outlook late overnight, the IMF forecast Australian growth would contract by 1.4% in 2009, before growing by 0.6% in 2010.
The IMF now expects world growth to decline by 1.3% in 2009, a hefty 1.8% reduction from what it predicted at the start of the year, while developed economies are expected to contract by 3.8%.
''It's the worst set of global forecasts the IMF has yet bought down because it now believes that the recession will be deeper and longer than previously forecast,'' Mr Swan said.
''And of course this has made an Australian recession inevitable.''
The IMF expects Australian jobless rate to be 7.8% in 2010, compared to its current level of 5.7%.
In February the Government had forecast a jobless rate of 7% by mid-2010, although Mr Swan has already indicated that unemployment will be higher than that because declining growth, and new forecasts will be included in the May 12 budget.
Mr Swan was asked if he could guarantee that the jobless rate wouldn't hit the double digit levels seen in the early 1990s.
''There are no guarantees when you are amidst the most savage global recession since the Great Depression,'' Mr Swan said.
''The Government will do everything we possibly can by way of economic stimulus to support jobs now ... and to put in place the building blocks for recovery so that we can maximise the employment opportunities that will flow from the global recovery when it comes.''
He said the pace of economic recovery will depend on the rest of the world.
''I myself personally am a little bit optimistic about China, and that's a good thing,'' Mr Swan said.