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  • Rikki Lambert

IMF tells Australia to get its house in order as debt nears $1 trillion

Federal gross debt will hit $1 trillion in 2023/24 according to 'PEFO', the Pre-election Financial Outlook released by treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday - and Labor says we've got 'not enough' to show for it.

The International Monetary Fund has released a report which forecasts that Australia's structural deficit will rise to 3.6 per cent of GDP in 2022-23. Australia will have the eighth-largest structural deficit among 34 developed countries that are tracked by the IMF.

The IMF's Vitor Gaspar told Nine media that countries like Australia, which increased debt levels to deal with COVID-19, face growing risks, and should start "normalising" their fiscal policy.

Australia's gross debt recently reached a new high of $889bn and is forecast to exceed $1trn in 2023-24. It is also slated to reach 62.5 per cent of GDP in 2023, compared with just 30.5 per when the Coalition took office in 2013.

Labor shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Wednesday afternoon:

"The Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) released today confirms that the Morrison Government's decade of economic mismanagement has resulted in a budget riddled with waste and rorts and with a trillion dollars in debt with not enough to show for it.
"So far this campaign, the Morrison Government has relied on desperate lies and scare campaigns about tax, spending, debt and interest rates in a bid to distract from their record of economic mismanagement and underperformance."

 Treasurer Josh Frydenberg made no public comment on PEFO's release.


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