Joint Media Release

Reckless Action on the Debt Limit

MC 14/13

Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance

Hon. J.B. Hockey
Treasurer

20 November 2013

The Labor Party and the Greens are behaving recklessly and dangerously by refusing to support a $500 billion debt limit, which Treasury Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson today described as “prudent”.

The opposition parties have refused briefings from the Government and the Treasury and are preparing to do what no other Australian parliament has ever done – refuse a request to increase the limit to a level the Government has sought.

The Labor Party and the Greens want to continue to kick the debt limit can down the road, when they are entirely responsible for the position the Government finds itself in.

The $400 billion number they picked was flawed in the first place given their own published peak debt of $370 billion. The $40 billion to $60 billion buffer previously identified means $430 billion as a minimum would have been required based on the 2013 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

As the Government and Dr. Parkinson have outlined, conditions have deteriorated since that point.

Moreover, the Labor Party is opposing our savings measures – including $13.4 billion from the abolition of their flawed mining tax and $10 billion from abolishing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The Coalition reaffirms it will not deliver a Budget where the debt limit is less than the projected peak debt over the forward estimates, plus a responsible buffer.

If the Labor Party and the Greens want to accept responsibility for limiting peak debt, then they must also accept the consequences of their actions.

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook will be released before Christmas, following publication of the September Quarter National Accounts. This timeline was confirmed by Dr Parkinson today.

MYEFO will outline the true state of the Budget which we have inherited, which continues to unfold as each day passes.

ENDS

[ENDS]