Thursday, 5 February 2009
Questions without Notice
I would like to make this point, because those opposite have now admitted that they would borrow to make up for the gap in government revenues which has been caused by the global financial crisis. We are going to borrow to do that. Governments in the past have borrowed to do that. The federal government has a AAA credit rating. We have a very sound balance sheet, and net debt in this country is very low by international standards. It is very low, and that is a good thing, and it is one of the things that gives us the capacity to respond to the global financial crisis. Net debt, as the shadow Treasurer would see in the papers that we have published this week, is expected to be about five per cent of GDP at the end of the forward estimates. That compares to 45 per cent across the OECD. So we have a strong balance sheet, a strong capacity to borrow to support jobs and economic growth in this country, and that is the responsible thing to do.
The states do the same, and they did the same under your government, the Howard government. They borrowed for critical economic infrastructure. It was ticked off by the Loan Council, just as it is ticked off by this government.