Tony Abbott Addresses World Economic Forum In Davos

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Abbott

Abbott began his speech with an overview of world economic conditions and the prospects for growth. He reiterated his election campaign themes and said Australia was now “open for business”.

Abbott said his government’s aim is to ensure that every “fit” person of working age remained in the workforce, either in a paid capacity or some other form.

The Prime Minister spoke of Australia’s role as president of the G20 over the coming year. He said he was looking forward to discussions in Brisbane about the digital economy and world infrastructure. He emphasised the importance of free markets and the need for governments to get out of the way of industry. “Government doesn’t create growth,” he said. “People do, when they run profitable businesses.”

“Better governance is not the same as more government,” Abbott told the forum.

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Address to the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland.

THIS YEAR’S G20: GETTING THE FUNDAMENTALS RIGHT

Abbott

For more than 40 years, this World Economic Forum at Davos has been an important contributor to global progress.

It has brought together some of the best thinkers and most important decision-makers: not to dwell on problems but to focus on opportunities.

As 2014 begins, it’s easier to be optimistic. [Read more...]


Inflation Up Slightly; Hockey Blames Carbon Tax

Inflation edged up slightly in the December quarter and Treasurer Joe Hockey says it’s the fault of the carbon tax.

HockeyThe December quarter rise in the Consumer Price Index was 0.8%. Headline inflation was 2.7% through the year, up from 2.2% in the September quarter.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said: “The inflation rate continues to be impacted by Labor’s Carbon Tax.” He said electricity prices have increased by 22.5% since the introduction of the tax in July 2012. He called on Labor senators to pass the carbon tax repeal legislation when Parliament meets again in February.

Hockey also commented on new figures from the International Monetary Fund which project that global economic growth will increase from 3% in 2013 to 3.7% in 2014. He said: “The IMF underscores the importance of managing vulnerabilities, notwithstanding the expected strengthening in global economic activity.”

Media release from Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Consumer Price Index – December Quarter 2013

Today’s release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the December Quarter shows that inflation is slightly above the middle of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s target band. [Read more...]


MYEFO: Budget Deficit Rises To $47.6bn And $123bn Over Four Years; Debt To Hit $667bn In A Decade

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has released the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) which shows the federal budget deficit will increase by $17.5 billion to $47.6 billion this year, with total deficits of $123 billion over the next four years.

The MYEFO forecasts gross debt to reach $667 billion in a decade and be around 26% of GDP in 2023-24. Net debt is expected to peak at 16.2% in 2018-19, the highest since 1996-97.

Hockey

Hockey released the MYEFO in an address the National Press Club in Canberra. It forecasts a budget deficit for the fiscal year 2014-15 of $33.9 billion and $24 billion in 2015-16. Whereas both the Coalition and the ALP said they would deliver a budget surplus in 2016-17, MYEFO forecasts a deficit of $17.7 billion.

Unemployment, currently 5.8%, is predicted to be 6% in June, rising to 6.25% for the next three years, adding $3.7 billion to the welfare bill. A blowout of $11.3 billion is forecast for the welfare budget. [Read more...]


Greens Strike Deal With Abbott Government To Abolish Debt Ceiling

With just days to spare before the debt limit needed to be increased, the Australian Greens have struck a deal with the government to abolish the ceiling.

Once labelled “economic fringe-dwellers” by the Coalition, the Greens have stolen a march on the ALP by negotiating a deal that reshapes the debt debate and sidelines the Opposition.

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne told a media conference that the agreement allows for increased parliamentary scrutiny of government debt. An automatic ministerial statement and parliamentary debate will take place whenever a $50 billion increase in debt is undertaken. There is no provision for the parliament to disallow a debt increase.

Milne

The Greens are selling the deal as an agreement that ensures that debt will be justified and the public “will now be able to see whether the government is incurring good debt to invest in our future, or bad debt to cover up a shortfall in revenue”. [Read more...]


Greens And Palmer Back GrainCorp Decision; ALP Says Hockey Acts In The Nationals Interest

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to block the ADM takeover of GrainCorp has met with approval from the Greens and Clive Palmer but has been criticised by the ALP as an attack on foreign investment and a capitulation to The Nationals.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said Hockey had failed his first big test of credibility as Treasurer. He said Hockey had acted not in the national interest but in the interests of The Nationals. “Hockey can be bullied afterall,” Bowen said.

Bowen

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said her party was “very pleased” GrainCorp is not to be sold. “Owning our essential infrastructure is critical,” she said.

The Palmer United Party’s Clive Palmer said he would now withdraw his private member’s bill which proposed to legislatively block the ADM takeover.

Palmer

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