The Australian Greens have secured a deal with the federal government that would see the $300 billion debt ceiling scrapped.
The Australian Greens have secured a deal with the federal government to scrap the national debt ceiling.
Leader Christine Milne has released details of the agreement, which also includes requirements for further debt reporting in the budget and other documents relating to the budget position.
As well, the government will deliver a debt statement when its borrowings increase by $50 billion.
“It’s a good outcome,” Senator Milne said.
The Greens’ negotiations had secured a higher lever of federal government debt reporting and it could no longer use the issue “as a figleaf for budget” spending cuts.
“The Greens have always been at the heart of responsible economic management,” she said.
The new arrangements are likely to be in place from the 2014/15 budget due in May.
The agreement means the government will be able to get its legislation through the Senate with Greens support.
It also signals the end of a long-running argument over initial plans by Treasurer Joe Hockey to increase the debt ceiling from $300 billion to $500 billion.
The current ceiling was due to be reached by December 12.
Labor had opposed a $200 billion rise, offering the government a $100 billion increase instead.
Mr Hockey rejected Labor’s proposal, saying Australia needed a buffer in case of an emergency.
Senator Milne said the Abbott government gave the Greens most of what they asked for to secure the deal.
“Yes, pretty much,” she said.
It’s a victory for the coalition, which is facing hurdles on other unrelated legislation in the Senate where the Greens and Labor have the numbers if they combine.
Senator Milne did not think the revised debt legislation would go through until next week.
The debt ceiling was introduced in 2008 by the former Labor government.