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Labor's backpedal on public housing must be used to reduce debt.

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Thu, 27th August 2009

Labor's backpedal on public housing must be used to reduce debt

Scott Morrison MP Shadow Minister for Housing and Local Government

Federal Shadow Minister for Housing, Scott Morrison said $750 million in funding cuts to the Rudd Government’s overly ambitious public housing spending programme, should be used to reduce Labor’s $315 billion debt not fuel more reckless spending.

“The Coalition has argued since day one that Labor’s debt-fueled plan to build and have underway 20,000 public housing dwellings by 31 December next year was unachievable. Labor must use this backtrack, which means 2500 less dwellings than originally planned, to reduce their $315 billion of debt rather than as an excuse for more reckless spending for Australians to pay back,” Mr Morrison said.

“Labor should listen to the growing consensus of economists urging them to wind down their stimulus package and ensure savings are used to reduce Labor’s $315 billion debt burden they have saddled on generations of Australians,” he said.

“If Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan continue to spend money the way they are, there is only one thing Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens can do and that’s raise interest rates.

“Governor Stevens recently sounded a warning to the House Economics Committee that their current thinking on the stimulus was based on everything proceeding to schedule. Clearly it’s not and the Rudd Government should acknowledge this and reign in their reckless spending.

“Today’s report underlines the urgent need for the Minister for Housing to release monthly reports she is receiving on the progress of the social housing promise.

“To meet their public housing program the Government would have needed to start more than 30 homes every day to meet their own schedule - a 500% increase on what has typically been achieved by states and territories in the past.

“With cuts to the program having to be made less than a year into it, it’s clear the timetables have been a sham.

“Mr Rudd has a political strategy for handling the global financial crisis, but no economic strategy. Labor is simply looking to maintain their excuse for spending billions of dollars of borrowed public money on marginal seats before the next election,” Mr Morrison said.