Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, today called on federal Liberal and Labor to take a lesson from their state counterparts and commit to significant new investment in productivity enhancing infrastructure.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Growth figures released yesterday show that Victoria was the best economically performing state in the nation and that this performance was underpinned by the 'interventionist' stance of the state government to borrow to invest in infrastructure.
“At least one state government is not sitting on its hands like its federal counterparts. This is despite the federal government being in the best position to borrow at record low rates and make funding pools available to local and state governments for additional infrastructure investment.
“The 45th parliament can lead on this issue by adopting a new holistic nationwide approach to debt-funded public infrastructure.
“Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas, recently referenced the good work of a Senate Select Committee I chaired in the last parliament. Outgoing Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Stevens, recently echoed the findings of the committee in calling for the federal government ‘to borrow for the right investment assets—long-lived assets that yield an economic return.’
“Despite all this evidence and all the experts clamouring for the federal government to take action, the federal Liberal and Labor parties are still paralysed by the ‘debt is bad’ fallacy.
“The future of this nation will rest on the federal response to the unprecedented convergence of issues that we face: record low interest rates, stagnant inflation, sky-high house prices, the tail end of a mining boom and—the mother of all financial risks—climate change. A failure to act in the face of these issues will leave a debt much greater than that which investing in productive and transformative infrastructure will leave,” he concluded.