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Fed: Govt says all options on the table for further stimulus

By Kate Hannon, National Political Editor
13 Jan 2009 7:06 PM

CANBERRA, Jan 13 AAP - The impact of the slowing world economy will be felt in Australia's jobs market, with the latest figures due out on Thursday, Treasurer Wayne Swan says.

Mr Swan refused to rule in or out the need for a further economic stimulus package or to bring forward $4.5 billion in tax cuts due in July 2010.

But Mr Swan said the notion that Australia was better placed than other economies to deal with the global economic crisis fallout had been borne out by Standard & Poors' reaffirmation of Australia's credit rating.

"There's no doubt there is a marked slowing of world growth. That's impacting on domestic growth. That will lead to an up-tick in unemployment in this country," Mr Swan told reporters on Tuesday.

Housing Finance figures to be released on Wednesday would also give the latest indication of extent of the softening of the domestic housing market.

Mr Swan said it was too early to say whether another economic stimulus package, similar to the $10.4 billion in payments to families and pensioners announced in October was needed.

The payments, which began on December 8, were still flowing through the economy and would continue to do so this quarter and the next.

"We will observe its impacts as we move through the early part of the year," Mr Swan said.

"We will take whatever measures are required to support jobs and to strengthen the Australian economy in the face of a slowing world economy."

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull repeated his call for the 2010 tax cuts to be brought forward as an incentive and a way of preserving jobs.

A $3.4 billion tax cut is already locked in for July 1 this year.

"The great virtue of tax cuts is that they provide incentives to hire, incentives to invest and they provide those incentives right across the economy," Mr Turnbull told reporters.

Mr Turnbull singled out employment as the most important issue this year and the test of the government's economic management.

Mr Swan pointed to the S&P assessment which he said described the Australia economy as resilient and one of the strongest economies in the world.

"We're not immune from the global financial crisis but if there was one country in the world where you'd want to be in the middle of a global financial crisis it is Australia," Mr Swan said.

"And that is reaffirmed by the credit rating given to Australia by Standard and Poor's."

AAP keh/it/bwl