Wayne Swan wins finance minister of the year

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Treasurer Wayne Swan has been named Euromoney’s finance minister of the year for his handling of the economy through and beyond the financial crisis.

It is only the second time an Australian has won the prestigious award.

The London-based finance magazine said while Swan had been lucky to inherit a sound economy with natural resources, his “careful stewardship” had been instrumental to the success of Australia’s economy.

“Swan has undoubtedly been blessed with a number of advantages, including inheriting a sound economy and the natural resources bounty that has allowed Australian trade with China in particular to boom,” it said.

Euromoney said Swan had carefully positioned the economy to grow whilst most other countries experienced economic meltdown.

“Australia’s sustained expansion has been the most impressive performance of any member of the developed rich countries club,” it said.

 “Its banking system is strong and the envy of many other developed nations.”

“Its economic foundations are sound, with strong exports, low unemployment and rising incomes.”

The magazine said Swan’s controversial step to stimulate the economy in 2007/2008 despite strong opposition was of particular merit.

It said he had “succeeded in getting most of the important decisions right” and had a “fiscal discipline that many other finance ministers refuse to adopt”.

Swan said the award was a recognition for everyone in Australia.

“This is a real tribute to the millions of ordinary Australians whose hard work and resilience have made our economy one of the strongest in the developed world,” he said.

But the magazine said despite Swan’s impressive management of the economy he was unlikely to get much credit in Australia.

Euromoney’s decision is likely to have important political implications for Australia, and will help the Government to argue its case for the contentious carbon tax and minerals resources rent tax.

The award will be presented to Swan on September 25 at the World Bank/Inernational Monetary Fund meetings in Washington.

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