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October current account: time for the government to rethink its budget strategy

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fhh Media Release Hon Gareth Evans QC MP Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Treasurer

October Current Account: Time for the Government to rethink its Budget strategy

Today's balance of payments figures, showing a trend deterioration in the current account deficit, emphasise once more the need for the Government to rethink its budget strategy.

The Government's mindless budget cuts are having a contractionary impact on the economy, and yet there is no evidence in these figures of a lower current account deficit payoff.

If anything, today's figures highlight just how wrong the Government is to be hacking into programs that help our manufacturers export and compete in world markets.

Merchandise export growth has slowed to a crawl. There is an urgent need to get exports back on a strong growth path.

Mr Costello talks about "a long haul" in relation to the balance of payments. But for the long haul, more private saving and a balanced budget are best achieved by maintaining strong economic growth.

The simple fact is the Government's low growth policies are not a long haul solution. They will do more to harm the drive for higher national saving than moderate and justifiable changes to the budget in the Senate - changes which put money back into a flat economy.

29 November 1996