In a statement, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said he had the opportunity to meet with the Australian High Commission on December 3rd, including a conference call with officials from the Australian Treasury, to talk about the broader strategic relationship and PNG’s multi-year budget repair and economic reform program.
“We are now exploring other options, including making direct contact again with the Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. As another Treasurer having to deal with the COVID-19 challenges, he will be putting out the Australian MYEFO later this month,” stated Ling-Stuckey.
“This will highlight once again the massive budget hole that the pandemic has been creating around the world.
“Australia one year ago estimated its 2020/21 Australian Budget deficit would be 0.3 percent of GDP. Because of the bushfires and COVID-19, Australia’s budget deficit estimate increased to 11 percent of GDP – a massive increase of 10.7 percent of GDP (PNG’s deficit in 2020 increased by 3.1 percent of GDP – less than one-third as much).
“Australian debt levels as a share of GDP are expected to increase because of COVID-19 from 34.5 percent in 2019/20 to 44.8 percent in 2020/21 to 55 percent in the medium-term.
“Sharing our experiences with friends, even across very different economies, makes it easier to understand the impacts of the global pandemic and stay true to the reform course. We cannot slow down the process of PNG’s budget repair by the Marape Government in these most difficult of COVID-19 times.”
(Treasurer Ling-Stuckey meeting with the Australian High Commission and on a conference call with the Australian Treasury)