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Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, 8 August 2012


The Senator addressed a boardroom lunch for 40 business executives where she discussed “Changes in the Australian Economy.” This lunch was proudly hosted by Norton Rose.

This is a year of change in the Australian economy. It continues to outperform most other advanced economies, but significant risks exist from the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, slowing growth in China, and the tentative US recovery. Different parts of the Australian economy are also experiencing the opportunities and challenges from the mining boom in different ways.

Australia’s Federal Budget is in good shape. But looking forward, tough questions remain about how we finance our future growth given our ageing demographics, and pressures from increasing health costs. Consider that in 1970 there were 7.5 people of working age to support every person aged 65 and over. In 2010, this ratio fell to 5:1. By 2050, it is projected to decline to 2.7 working age people to every person aged 65 and over.

Future prosperity also depends on fostering productivity growth across the economy. This requires continued investment in skills, communications infrastructure (NBN), and transport infrastructure.

Senator Wong was elected as a Labor Senator for South Australia in November 2001 and began her term in July 2002.

In Opposition, Penny held the portfolios of Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility and Public Administration and Accountability.

In December 2007 Penny was appointed to the Federal Cabinet in the Rudd Labor Government as the Minister for Climate Change and Water, and in March 2010 the Prime Minister added the Energy Efficiency portfolio to her responsibilities.

In September 2010 Penny was appointed Minister for Finance and Deregulation in the Gillard Labor Government.

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