We’re headed for a debt disaster

The Government’s release of the Final Budget Outcome from the 2016-17 Financial Year is welcome and demonstrates that there are green-shoots in the economy. I'm pleased the Government has made further inroads in dealing with the deficit disaster but clearly more needs to be done.

In particular, the confirmation today that the projected peak of gross national debt remains to be at three quarters of a trillion dollars, mostly through welfare expenditure and a bloated public service, is the stuff of nightmares.

That’s three quarters of a trillion dollars that will have to be paid back by future generations with interest. We are literally asking our children and grandchildren to fund our lifestyle today with interest.

This irresponsible and reckless situation has been largely brought about thanks to a Senate that will blindly agree higher taxes and more spending but refuses to deal with spending reductions. Take for instance the 2014 Budget which contained many necessary and mild budget repair measures that, if passed in 2014, would have had a $23 billion lower deficit today. Sadly, the Senate refused to even engage on many of those measures despite the Government of the day being fully prepared to put its case to the Australian people.

A simple way, as I have long advocated, is for the Government to reintroduce the debt ceiling. It would allow the Senate to more carefully consider every dollar spent and put a proper check and balance back in place. It was a mistake to remove it and instead of making matters worse, it’s time we admit it and rectify it.

I remain hopeful that Parliamentary colleagues will see some wisdom in returning to this model. 

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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