08/05/2009 - 12:11

Big challenge ahead for Australia: Swan

08/05/2009 - 12:11

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Encouraging economic data won't stop the hard choices made in Tuesday's federal budget, Treasurer Wayne Swan has warned.

Big challenge ahead for Australia: Swan

Encouraging economic data won't stop the hard choices made in Tuesday's federal budget, Treasurer Wayne Swan has warned.

Data released this week showed record retail spending and an unexpected drop in unemployment.

But there was still "a very big challenge ahead," Mr Swan said.

"This global recession has had a very substantial impact ... (and will have) for some time to come," he told reporters on the steps of the Treasury Department in Canberra.

Recent strengthening of the local stockmarket and a sharp rise in the Australian dollar were also encouraging.

"But we are in this for the long haul and we have not had a global event of this nature for 75 years," he said, adding the mining boom had unwound substantially.

"When the previous government was in power it was raining gold bars."

The budget would continue with economic stimulus and would put in place a set of policy proposals to maximise opportunities once global growth returned.

"The budget is about supporting jobs, making the investments for the future."

Mr Swan refused to say whether the government would stick by an election promise not to means-test childcare benefits.

"But we take our commitments seriously," he said.

There would be hard choices, unpopular decisions, and no easy options, Mr Swan added.

Media reports this week indicated the federal budget will unveil a $70 billion deficit for the 2010 financial year.

Western Australia's budget will be revealed late next week, with Premier Colin Barnett indicating a $400 million surplus.

 

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