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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 7220


Ms SAFFIN (2:19 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer please update the House on assessments from key global economic institutions of the government’s economic stimulus?


Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —I thank the member for Page for her question. Last night two very important and very significant reports were released on global economic conditions and the relationship between those global economic conditions and the Australian economy. Of course, both these reports provide further evidence that the government’s efforts to stimulate the economy are working to position Australia as one of the strongest performing economies in the advanced world, and that is something that we on this side of the House celebrate. We certainly know that we have some very big challenges ahead, but what we also know is that if we all pull together, if we work together with the local governments of this country, with the state governments, with local communities, with the business community, we can do our best to cushion the Australian economy from the very savage impacts of this global recession.

Last night the IMF had a few things to say. I think those opposite might be a little embarrassed when they hear what the IMF had to say, because the IMF commended the government on its three-stage stimulus strategy. You will recall that those opposite have been in this House, day in and day out, running down the stimulus strategy. This is what the IMF had to say in their report released overnight:

We welcome the quick implementation of targeted and temporary fiscal stimulus.

We certainly do, Mr Speaker! They go on:

The stimulus provides a sizable boost to domestic demand in 2009 and 2010 that will cushion the impact of the global recession.

But, get this statement:

The transfers to households had an immediate impact on activity that helped underpin confidence.

This is a complete repudiation of the position taken by the opposition in this House as well as in the Senate. The IMF went on to say that they recognised the important role our bank guarantee has played in bolstering confidence and in securing the flow of credit. Who opposed that? The opposition did. They opposed the bank guarantee all the way and they opposed economic stimulus all the way. The IMF went on to say more. They said:

Timely and appropriate policy intervention also helped the Australian financial sector. Wholesale funding guarantees allowed for continued access to international capital markets.

The IMF made the very obvious point that the impact of our stimulus is the reason that Australia’s downturn has been milder than those of most other advanced economies. They also highlighted the importance of infrastructure investment. These reports demonstrate why the government’s strategy of investing in infrastructure that leaves a lasting legacy is so important to employment. They are positive assessments. We have a long way to go, but these reports and the outcomes that have come to this country stand in stark contrast to the negative approach of those opposite, who have opposed us every step of the way.