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Australia not immune to global downturn: Treasurer

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Treasurer Jim Chalmers warns the nation is not immune from the “deteriorating” global outlook while flagging a “national conversation” about potential tax hikes.

Dr Chalmers remains optimistic about the near future of the Australian economy but warns of difficulty ahead as the global economy deteriorates.

“We won’t be completely immune from that,” he told the ABC on Monday.

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“Our expectation is that the Australian economy will continue to grow but so will the challenges to the Australian economy.”

He said the initial expected annual cost of servicing debt would be $26 billion at the end of 2025/26 but that was now tipped to be $33 billion.

“Interest rates are rising, it costs more and more to service that debt … billions of dollars more that we have to find in the budget to service that debt,” Dr Chalmers said.

“That means more than ever, that we need to make sure that the investment that we make in the budget delivers genuine bang for buck.”

The treasurer will deliver his first budget on October 25.

Dr Chalmers said the country needed to discuss how it funded key areas of growth including defence, health, aged care and the NDIS, and whether that included raising taxes.

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“I want to have a national conversation about how we fund the things that we really care about as a society,” he said.

“There’ll be three, maybe four budgets in the life of this government if it runs full term, and that means that we will have the opportunity to engage people and consult people on the way forward.”

Labor has promised to deliver on one area of tax reform: making multinational corporations pay a fairer share of tax.

– AAP

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