Browsing articles in "Politics"
Monday 21st January 2008 - 11:52 am

PM sets his agenda

by Alan Thornhill

The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd set the agenda for his new government, at a business breakfast in Perth this morning.

He told those attending they could expect sharp cuts in government spending, fresh incentives for savings and moves to get more people into the worlkforce.

His promise to tackle Australia’s skills shortage is particularly attractive to W.A. businesses. They have been struggling to overcome skills shortages for many months, as a result of the State’s mining boom.

Mr Rudd’s promise to clear bottlenecks, while cutting Federal spending, appears to rest on basic contradictions.

Better port, rail and road facilities usually require extra government spending.

That implies that cuts to other Federal spending will, in all likelihood, be much deeper than previously expected.

That, too, was made clear, by implication,  today when the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, told ABC radio that the government would proceed with its staged tax cuts, worth some $31 billion, despite its severe spending cuts.

Predictably, Mr Rudd  also attacked his predecessor, John Howard, saying the outgoing government had done little, if anything, to contain inflationary pressures in Australia.

He won’t be able to get away with that kind of talk much longer.

Mr Rudd did not spell out all that his government will do to curb inflation, although he has now signalled that this is is his top priority.

Full details won’t be made public until the government’s first budget in May. Unless, of course, it sees value in some well placed leaks, beforehand. As it did over the weekend that has just passed.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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