The Australian Greens finance spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, today welcomed the call by former Reserve Bank Governor, Warwick McKibbin, for an increase in infrastructure spending.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Government spending on public infrastructure is vital to the future of the Australian economy. The Greens recently released a ground-breaking initiative to establish a Government-owned infrastructure bank and issue up to $75 billion of low interest debt to get money flowing and build the nation.
“Investment in transformative infrastructure will create jobs, will improve our quality of life, and will provide stability in an uncertain global environment. The Greens are pleased so many experts are now publicly joining us in the call for a new approach to nation building.
“However, despite talking big, the Turnbull Government is ignoring such advice and planning to reduce infrastructure funding to the states by 57%.
“The recent budget shows federal government payments to the states for infrastructure will fall from $9.2 billion next financial year to $4.0 billion in 2019-20.
“The Turnbull Government is being irresponsible in the extreme. Economists are lining up left, right and centre to say that monetary policy is not working and that the government needs to increase confidence in the economy by borrowing to fund infrastructure.
“The Turnbull Government is ignoring this advice. It is borrowing to fund corporate tax cuts and hoping on a wing and a prayer that further interest rates cuts will stimulate private investment. This is a huge gamble that the budget papers explain has failed to work globally.
“The Government should heed the unanimous recommendations of the recent Greens-chaired Senate Select Committee into the Scrutiny of Government Budget Measures report that called for the government to lock in low-borrowing costs by issuing infrastructure bonds.
“Australian Government net debt remains very low by international standards. We need to act now to ensure we avoid a serious downturn in economic conditions and to safeguard the nation’s future,” he concluded.
Media contact: Tim Beshara 0409164603
Greens tax avoidance policy here.
The Senate Select Committee into the Scrutiny of Government Budget Measures infrastructure report can be found here.
Budget Paper No. 3 - Table 2.3: Total payments for infrastructure to the States
National Partnerships ($ million)