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Australian Coalition Gov't Marks 100 Days Since Election
Source: www.xinhuanet.com
Source Date: Monday, December 16, 2013
Country: Australia
Created: Dec 17, 2013

The Australian Coalition government marked its 100 days since the Sept. 7 election on Monday and pledged to keep building a stronger, more prosperous economy of Australia in 2014.

According to a statement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday, he said that he believes what the new government has delivered in the first 100 days is "competent and trustworthy" to voters.

He said the Coalition government will stay committed to building a stronger, more prosperous economy in 2014.

"Above all else, we will build a stronger economy so that everyone can get ahead. That means scrapping the carbon tax, ending the waste, stopping the boats and building the roads of the 21st century," he said.

Since the Sept. 7 election, the Liberal-National Coalition government has taken a number of specific actions as promised in the campaign, such like scraping Labor's 1.8 billion AU dollars ( about 1.6 billion US dollars) Fringe Benefits Tax hit on the car industry, introducing legislation to scrap carbon and mining taxes and establishing Operation Sovereign Borders, a new military-led response to combat people-smuggling, according to the prime minister.

Since the commencement of Operation Sovereign Borders, according to the figures from the government, illegal arrivals by boat have reduced by around 80 percent. And the legislation to scrap the carbon tax makes it clear that average families will benefit by 550 AU dollars (about 492.8 US dollars) a year when that tax is removed, the figures showed.

In foreign policies and trade sector, the government successfully concluded negotiations with the Republic of Korea for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that will be worth 5 billion AU dollars (4.48 billion US dollars) to the Australian economy between 2015 and 2030.

In addition, it has launched the first stage of the New Colombo Plan, which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia and strengthen people-to-people and institutional relationships, through study and internships undertaken by Australian undergraduate students in the region.

More than 700 Australian students are set to benefit from the program in 2014, the figures from the government showed.

However, in this 100 days, the Coalition government was in dilemma of a spying scandal for monitoring its neighbor countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which hit its cooperation of combating people smuggling with its neighbors, such like Indonesia.

In domestic policies, the new government focused on the issues like infrastructure, taxes and reform of environmental approvals.

In this 100 days of the new government, it progressed work with the states to build "the roads of the 21st century", which aims to complete an investment program to ensure improving the efficiency of the public transport systems with a more productive infrastructure.

And the Coalition confirmed that it scrapped most of the nearly 100 "announced, but not enacted" tax changes that were inherited from the previous Labor government.

It also signed Memorandum of Understanding to establish one- stop-shops for environmental approvals with all states and territories, which will provided environmental approvals for major projects worth 180 billion AU dollars (almost 161.3 million US dollars), meaning more investment and more jobs in the future.

But the Opposition Labor said the new government's first 100 days have been characterized by "nasty surprises and pathetic excuses".

For instance, over the spying scandal of Indonesia, Opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen criticized Abbott was engaging in " megaphone diplomacy," which he had promised to avoid in the case of Indonesia.

"We have the Prime Minister talking to Indonesia through the media. Now with all due respect to the media, that is not how you deal with a neighbor," he told local media.

In addition, the recent shutdown decision of Australian iconic automobile maker GM Holden, which will affect almost 50,000 jobs in South Australia and Victoria, also hit the local manufacturing sector and the government's economic promises for creating more jobs.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill described the economic cost of the decision "enormous," and said it could cost 13,000 jobs.

University of Adelaide associate professor John Spoehr also said the shutdown would create an economic "vacuum" of at least 1 billion AU dollars (almost 0.896 billion dollars) in Adelaide and 4 billion AU dollars (almost 3.58 billion dollars) nationally.

The Labor criticized that the government stood by and failed to stop the decision. The Australian Manufacturing Worker Union's National Secretary Paul Bastian criticized that there is no doubt that the Abbott government's lack of commitment to the car industry has led to the Holden decision.

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