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Finance minister Katy Gallagher is speaking now to ABC Insiders host David Speers. She says Labor faces “a very serious set of economic and budget challenges, and we don’t want to pretend it is anything but that”.
Q: Are you saying that the figures that were produced showing deficits totalling $224bn over the next four years – were they accurate or not?
Well, they are certainly the numbers that the finance department and the Treasury signed off on in the election campaign, but I think the point we are making is that there is a range of spending that we are having a look at in the budget and there is also clearly some huge budget pressures coming.
I guess in those areas – health, aged care, the NDIS, defence, national security – where there are all of them growing faster than GDP and going to play significant pressure on the budget going forward …
I haven’t had many moments to reflect, I’ve got to say … it’s been a busy time. But I do understand the great responsibility that I have – I’m humbled by it. It says a lot about our great country that the son of a single mum, who was an invalid pensioner living in council housing, can rise to lead the country as prime minister and I’ll never take it for granted. I’ll honour it every day and I’ll do my best. That’s not to say I’ll be perfect, because none of us are, but I’ll try to keep it real on the way through and continue to keep my feet on the ground, because I think that is really important as well.
Australians are generous people and I think that they’ll give us a go. I get the sense out there that they want us to succeed. And I had people who didn’t vote for us as well, who said to me, we really want you to succeed for the sake of the country. So we’ll do our best.
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