The Australian Council of Trade Unions has said that the federal budget, to be delivered tonight, should invest in manufacturing and protect Australian jobs.
The ACTU, the country’s peak union council, has urged the federal government to use the announcement to "invest in Australia", and to disregard the idea of returning the budget to surplus as quickly as possible.
"The union movement has consistently argued that we should not pursue a surplus at any cost, and that jobs should always come first," said president Ged Kearney in a statement today, reported by AAP.
"Big job losses due to misguided austerity … would be a disaster for workers and their families."
Kearney’s comments echo those made by Innes Willox, the CEO of the Australian Industry Group, made last weekend. Willox said an eventual return to surplus would be desirable, but there was no sense in making sharp cuts with the economy in a weak position.
"What the business community is after now is not some masochistic austerity package because that will not allow us to create jobs or growth, but rather a credible, confident pathway forward through to surplus," Willox told the ABC's Insiders.