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Continuing expenditure restraints



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TREASURER

NO. 22

EMBARGO

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE TREASURER THE HON. JOHN HOWARD MP AND

THE HON ERIC ROBINSON, M.P., MINISTER FOR FINANCE

CONTINUING EXPENDITURE RESTRAINTS

The Treasurer, Mr John Howard, and the Minister for Finance,

Mr Eric Robinson, today reaffirmed the Government's policy of restraint of Commonwealth expenditure in outlining the procedures

recently established ty Cabinet for dealing with the forward estimates

of expenditure that had been prepared by all departments.

The two Ministers rejected as unfounded recent suggestions in some

quarters that Ministers were now operating in a much more permissive spending atmosphere. ■ ■ ■ · ' '

They recalled their joint statement of 17 January in which they had

reaffirmed maximum expenditure restraint over the balance of the financial year and had given details of the guidelines that Cabinet had set for departments in preparing their forward estimates of

expenditure. ' \

Now that the forward estimates were to hand Cabinet had to ensure that

the level of spending in the coming financial year fully reflected

the importance placed by the Government on continuing expenditure

restraint as a central element of its economic strategy.

The Government had decided that the Departments of Finance, Treasury

and Prime Minister and Cabinet, together with the operational .

department in each case would be involved in a detailed examination of a large number of proposals contained in the forward estimates and would

be reporting progressively to Ministers over the period ahead.

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The Minister for Finance would, as indicated in the statement of

17 January, initiate proposals in any other area he considered

appropriate for achieving significant reductions in projected.

expenditures. J .. . . , .

Departments had been instructed to co-operate fully in the exercise

against the background of the need for maximum expenditure restraint

in 1978/79. y . · · . ■ ' · ·" ; · '

In addition, Ministers have been asked to examine staff allocations

within their Departments with a view to having staff re-allocated to

new or expanding activities.

Mr Howard and Mr Robinson said that the procedures established by the Government to examine forward estimates of expenditure would be as

effective as those established during the previous two years in

ensuring that unnecessary expenditure was avoided and that .

Commonwealth outlays were concentrated in areas of greatest need.

They said that the Government*s commitment to maximum expenditure

restraint was fully consistent with its view that resources should be

transferred from the public to the private sector.

The results of this strategy so far are clear. Control of economic

activity is gradually being transferred back to the private sector

as reflected in recent improvements in consumer spending and

investment by business. , .

These policies have also made way for major taxation reductions.

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