Bradbury talks up the economy and the looming carbon tax

LINDSAY MP and Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury reiterated the government’s commitment to carbon pricing, the mining tax and a budget surplus at a chamber of commerce lunch at Panthers last Friday.

‘‘Australia’s unemployment is at 5.1 per cent and inflation levels are contained — the Reserve Bank can cut interest rates if it decides,’’ he said. ‘‘The Australian economy today is 9 per cent larger than before the global financial crisis in 2008. The economies of the US and Germany are only slightly larger.’’

Mr Bradbury said one reason was that China’s urban population, growing massively every year, needed cities, so the country had to buy natural resources Australia has in abundance.

He also credited the government’s economic policy of huge spending when the global downturn first hit. However, he said the high price of Australia’s minerals also meant a high Australian dollar which hit other export industries such as manufacturing.

Mr Bradbury said that was why the government had imposed a super profits tax on the mining industry, to spread the benefits of the boom.

Chamber members asked him about the impact of the carbon tax, which starts on July 1.

Mr Bradbury said despite some reports the Treasury estimated it would only increase inflation by 0.7 per cent: ‘‘We’re also giving assistance to households to cope with increases in prices’’.

Penrith chamber president Peter McGhee said Mr Bradbury had given a good account of government policies.

‘‘I think putting the budget back into surplus is a good direction,’’ he said. ‘‘But there are fundamental differences — the chamber does not support the carbon tax, for instance.

‘‘However, we’re always pleased to have the government facilitate a discussion on our home patch.’’

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