Can i just say that this is an extraudinary achievement! We are the envy of the world and no other country is debt free! In the end, since we don't have to pay off debt next week, we have more money to spend on other things. Furthermore, this debt free credit rate would be so useful when we have economic slowdown, so debt won't drag us any further.THE Federal Government would be debt-free by tomorrow, Treasurer Peter Costello said today.
Mr Costello said the Commonwealth bankcard would finally be in the black as of April 21, which he dubbed "debt-free day".
"As best as we can tell, tomorrow, the Commonwealth of Australia will eliminate its net debt," he told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
"It is the day we pay off the mortgage.
"From tomorrow, our government will no longer be a net borrower.
"In fact, from tomorrow we will start to save – to save for some of the big challenges of the future."
Mr Costello said the Government had inherited a debt of $96 billion when it came to office in 1996.
The treasurer said the Government had made $46.1bln from asset sales since 1996, with all proceeds going towards retiring debt.
Mr Costello said this was providing a direct benefit to taxpayers.
While some debt held by government instrumentalities will remain for the time being, Mr Costello said the retirement of "all government net debt" meant net interest payments next year of $300 million.
"This means every year, year after year, the taxpayer is saving billions in debt servicing costs."
Despite being in the black, Mr Costello warned against a spending spree.
"Let me disappoint some people and say that now is not the time down and make whoopee," he said.
"If we lose focus and discipline we could easily go backwards."
The Government has forecast an underlying cash surplus of $11.5bln for 2005/06.
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