australianchamberThe Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling on all non-government senators to reconsider their approach to the 2014 budget.

ACCI CEO, Kate Carnell, said: “The ‘old politics’ of just focussing on how the Budget may affect individuals and fanning discontent is failing Australia.

“The Australian people deserve better.

“The Parliamentary Budget Office—an independent umpire—has plainly stated Australia has real financial problems and we need to start addressing them now.  In essence, the PBO has endorsed the need for structural reform in the budget.

Whilst not calling the budget situation a “crisis” the PBO’s blunt assessment is that Australia is living beyond its means. According to reports in the Australian Financial Review, the PBO has found that if unchecked gross debt will grow at one of the fastest rates in the developed world, ballooning to $667 billion.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer, Phil Bowen, told the Australian Financial Review”:

“It is time to start coming out of debt and deficit, otherwise the longer you leave it the more exposed you become and the harder it is to wind it back.”

“This cannot be ignored,” Kate Carnell said.

 “To date, the Abbott budget is the only serious plan to tackle the nation’s financial problems that’s been put forward.

“Instead of opposition for political reasons, Labor and the Greens have an obligation to put serious alternative plans on the table to help fix Australia’s spending problems if they plan to reject the majority of the Government’s proposed reductions in expenditure.

“If non-government Senators plan to block cuts to expenditure they must be advocating raising more revenue to get the Budget back on track – so where are the new or increased taxes ?

“There is a very real risk here, the way the ‘old politics’ is playing out, that we could lose a real chance at structural reform to the budget, and that will mean we will all pay dearly in the future.”