Australia's aged care crisis escalates - staff shortage doubles

Read CEDA's new aged care report out now

Economy

The Budget will assist Australia manage a transforming economy

With a disciplined fiscal approach to spending, the Federal Budget will help Australia deal with the near term challenges of a transforming economy in a changing world now and in the future, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan told a CEDA audience in Brisbane.

With a disciplined fiscal approach to spending, the Federal Budget will help Australia deal with the near term challenges of a transforming economy in a changing world now and in the future, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan told a CEDA audience in Brisbane.

By having this approach, Mr Swan said it allowed room to be made in the Budget for new investment priorities such as:

  • The productivity agenda, to put in place the foundations for long-term growth;
  • Spreading the benefits of the resources boom;
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme;
  • Business tax reform including incentives for small business; and
  • Assistance to families.

He emphasised this Budget must also be viewed in a global economic context, with recovery in the US continuing at a moderate pace and Europe re-entering recession.

"We live not just in an Asian century, (but in) the Australian century in Asia," he said.

"For the next two years, around three-quarters of global growth is expected to be produced by emerging economies, particularly China and India.

"As the Asian middle classes swell to over a billion people in this decade, all our sectors stand to benefit.

"Our success in the Asian century will be determined by our ability to take hold of opportunities across our economy, and to do this we must drive productivity."

Mr Swan told attendees Australia is in a unique position to reap the benefits of this change because of our strong economic fundamentals, macroeconomic settings and transformative reforms.

"We are in our 21st year of conservative economic growth... and growth prospects for the future are strong," he said.

"What distinguishes us from our counterparts is we face challenges from a position of strength.

"With solid economic growth, low unemployment, contained inflation and a record investment pipeline, Australia is the envy of the world... our strong public finances are characterised by low levels of debit and a budget returning to surplus."

In addition, he outlined the Government is putting in place the foundations for long-term growth in Queensland including:

  • Injecting $879 million into the Nation Building Program, with major investments for the Bruce Highway from Cooroy to Curra ($388 million) and along the Cardwell Range ($90 million);
  • The final milestone payment ($400 million) for the Ipswich Motorway; and
  • The Commonwealth is contributing $742 million for new projects such as the Moreton Bay Rail Link.

Mr Swan emphasised further investments have been made in skills, education and training to open the door for all Australians to participate in the workforce.

He also said that at the heart of this Budget, is a plan to spread the benefits of the resources boom to families and small business across the country.

"We have every reason to be optimistic about the future. Our economy walks tall in the world and for the first time in history we are in the right part of the world at the right time," he said.

"With the right policy settings we can turn the mining boom into an opportunity for all Australians."

RBS Morgans, Chief Economist and Director of Strategy, Michael Knox said the Australian economy is balancing two titanic forces.

"The increase in mining investment of about $80 million is being counter balanced by a decrease in fiscal stimulus of $50 billion," he said.

"The reduction of fiscal stimulus is so massive, that in ordinary times it would throw the economy into recession.

"We do not live in ordinary times. We live in the greatest boom in mining investment in three generations. It takes this enormous decrease in fiscal stimulus to provide balance for the Australian economy.

"Should we achieve a growth rate of 3.25 per cent together with an inflation rate of two to three per cent, this Budget will have achieved the most extraordinary balancing act."

Loader