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Keating's Micro views are ominous

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38/92 25 February 1992


Today in Question Time, Mr Keating described the microeconomic reform measures in the Opposition's Fightback! package as "micro by name and micro by nature".

This is an ominous sign from the Prime Minister, on the eve of his Economic Statement, that he regards vital structural reform measures as unimportant.

Mr Keating clearly fails to understand that the microeconomic reform policies of the Coalition would permanently boost GDP by at least $60 billion on the basis of research undertaken by the Industry Commission and the Business Council of Australia.

These measures include reform of the waterfront, coastal shipping, telecommunications, land transport, electricity supply, aviation and the labour market.

The impact of other elements of our tax package are not even included in the $60 billion GDP boost.

For Mr Keating to regard such reform as "micro, micro" reveals his complete ignorance of the importance of these vital

structural reforms.

Mr Keating's record in structural reform is abysmal.

In 1988 he said that "Frankly we are at the point where there is nothing left to reform" and yet since then the Industry

Commission - once under Mr Keating's purview - has pointed to the scope for sweeping structural reforms.

Tomorrow's Statement will be Mr Keating's last chance to reform the Australian economy. Given his lack of interest in, and disregard for, structural reform, it is unlikely that his Statement will do the job.


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