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Balance of payments figures highlight debt burden



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Senator ¬ęTim Short Shadow M inister for Finance and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Commonwealth/State Relations

15 August 1991

SMF 62/91

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS FIGURES HIGHLIGHT DEDT BURDEN

The cost of servicing Australia's overseas debt was $17,278 million in 1990-91. That was greater than the current account deficit.

Today's June Quarter 1991 Balance of Payments figures show th at the net income deficit rose by $241 million in 1990-91. It has more than quadrupled since the Hawke Government took office and underscores the high and rising burden which is now being borne by average Australian^ as a result of years of neglect of the worsening foreign debt situation by the present Government.

One third of Australia's revenue from merchandise exports is now committed to servicing our foreign debt.

The net foreign debt currently stands at some $135 billion and is climbing rapidly. It is equivalent to a burden of $8,000 carried by every Australian.

The Government has plunged Australia into an international debt crisis. Paying off the mortgage is the legacy which the Government has left to Australians in the future.

The consequence is that, if Australia is to stabilise its overseas debt, the growth in domestic expenditure will have to be substantially less than the growth in domestic production for several years to come. Unless we can sustain high rates of economic growth - greater than 5 per cent per year - the high debt servicing burden means taking a cut in living standards.

Australians for many years ahead will have good reason to condemn the Hawke Labor Government for its incompetence.

Canberra. For further information contact Senator Short on 06-277 3119

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