The Federal Budget has taken an important step towards reversing the imbalance between expenditure on short-term measures to boost consumption over long term capacity-building investment, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) acting chief executive officer Brendan Pearson said.
Pearson said he was encouraged by the Government’s stance on education, the development of low emissions technologies and infrastructure.
The Government is describing the $22 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects as the centrepiece of its budget.
More than $330 million will be spent on developing a common-user port at Oakajee as part of a $3.5 billion development plan, $50 million of which will go towards helping expand Australia’s export ability as the economic recovery unfolds.
On top of the $584 million pledged in December 2008 for the $1.68 billion upgrade of the Hunter Valley rail corridor, the Government is also helping to create an environment for industry to expand and avoid future capacity constraints.
Pearson said that while the MCA welcomed the Government’s stance on infrastructure, they were disappointed the 2009 Budget would not implement a Flow Through Shares Scheme, which was promised by the Australian Labor Party prior to the 2007 Federal Election.
“A new study shows that an FTSS could generate socio-economic benefits of up to 4,196 new jobs, $114.4 million in additional Gross Domestic Product, $191.2 million in additional real private consumption and $965.1 million in additional real investment between 2009-10 and 2012-13.
The MCA is not the only ones to have fundamental issues with the budget.
Federal Member for Kalgoorlie and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and Resources Barry Haase slammed the Rudd Budget saying it was delivered by a wand that was wishing for a fairytale ending.
The budget papers make clear that Australia’s economic recovery, and its ability to pay off the Commonwealth $188 billion of debt, will be heavily dependent on the minerals industry and resource exports.
“The 2009-10 Budget is a classic tax-and-spend Labor exercise, but on a far more reckless scale than ever seen before, double the excesses suffered under Paul Keating,” Haase said.
“The Australian people will pay a high price, in terms of higher future taxes, higher future real interest rates, higher future foreign debt and higher unemployment.”