7 Feb 2009

Negotiations over Australian stimulus package

9:40 am on 7 February 2009

The Australian federal government is negotiating with key senators who will decide the fate of its $A42 billion stimulus package.

It was passed last week by the lower house of Parliament.

The ABC reports it appears the Government will need to change the package to get their votes.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding wants the Government to divert $A4 billion from its economic rescue plan to put towards helping the unemployed.

He says the package in its current form does little to help people who will lose their jobs and $A4 billion could be spent to set up a community jobs programme that would employ 100,000 people.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan says there are a range of measures in the plan to help people who do not have a job.

Greens Senator Christine Milne wants a guarantee the Commonwealth's offer to build public housing will not be abused by the states.

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown wants more energy efficiency measures included in the infrastructure spending.

Mr Swan says the Government will negotiate with the senators in good faith but he is warning the Senate it needs to act quickly.

The Opposition Leader intends to vote against the plan.