AUSTRALIA is headed towards being a “basketcase economy” like Greece unless drastic cuts are made in the May federal budget, Wannon MP Dan Tehan has warned.
Urging south-west residents to tighten their belts, he has described the current generation of Aussies as “lotus eaters”.
“We will go down as the generation that trashed the country on the altar of our own selfishness,” the Liberal MP said.
“In the interests of the generation to come we must not do what is easy, but what is right.
“The pressure is coming from a cycle of increasing wealth, welfare and education spending beyond what we are earning.
“We are simply living beyond our means and our children will bear the cost.”
As his Coalition government team prepares to take the knife to spending and introduce new revenue-raising measures, Mr Tehan conceded his views were like a nurse preparing patients for surgery.
“This needs to be a tough budget because if it’s not we are heading down the same track as Greece,” he told The Standard after his sweeping budget warnings were aired on the ABC’s The Drum program.
“But we can’t turn it around in one budget — it will require longer-term action.
“If Australia stays on the same course of accumulating debt the budget deficit will reach four per cent of GDP by 2023 — in Greece it’s 2.4 per cent. Our deficit in 2008 was 0.6 per cent and by 2013 it had grown to 2.4 per cent.
“We have to start thinking about our children because if we don’t we’ll be presenting them with a parlous state of the economy.”
He said he wasn’t privy to specific budget measures to be announced early on May 13, but said pre-election promises including $10 million for the proposed south-west radiotheraphy centre in Warrnambool and $2.5m for the Condah-Hotspur Road would be included.
“This funding is ready now,” he said.
“What we’ve got to do is grow the private sector because profitability is going to get tax revenue going.
“Funding for class sizes in education rather than for better teachers, the age pension as we live longer, growing health bureaucracies and tax reform are all areas that need to be addressed.
“We can no longer afford to spend more to solve our problems or maintain our standard of living.”