Aussie gov't not to squander budget surplus by engaging in "kneejerk" spending: treasurer

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-21 12:28:55|Editor: ZD
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CANBERRA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has insisted he will "stay the course" on the country's budget surplus and not cave in to opposition demands to unleash a wave of stimulus spending.

Frydenberg made the remarks after returning from a meeting of international finance ministers in Washington.

He dismissed Labor's demands for the government to embark on a series of spending programs, saying the current economic slowdown was nothing like the global financial crisis.

In a column he wrote for The Australian newspaper on Monday, Frydenberg said the Australian economy continued to perform "comparatively well" and he would not "squander" the budget surplus. "It's time to stay the course not engage in kneejerk spending," he wrote.

The treasurer argued that tax cuts already delivered, and three interest rate cuts since the May federal election, are already providing stimulus to the Australian economy and is urging an agenda to boost productivity.

Frydenberg met G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Washington over the weekend. The group later warned of risks to growth in the global economy and called on governments to "employ appropriate policy tools" to keep the economy buoyant.

"It's not a time to panic," he told Nine Entertainment newspapers on Monday. "There is a synchronized slowdown taking place across the global economy and the main reason for that is the uncertainty that trade tensions have wrought, but also Brexit.

"That means it's really important to continue to pursue structural reform."

An IMF report prepared for the meeting warned of a synchronized global slowdown, dragging world economic growth to its weakest pace since the global financial crisis in 2008-09. The report slashed growth forecasts for Australia from 2.1 percent to 1.7 percent, well below the government's 2.25 percent forecast.