Rudd reviews first year in office

By Ju Yeon Jung

The Rudd Government has celebrated its first year with a self-compiled 75-page progress report, a discreet but confident testament of its performance amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

In the report, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said his government had committed to building a modern Australia equipped to face the impending challenges by staying “ahead of the curve”, rather than simply reacting to them.

“Our challenges have been complicated by sharply deteriorating global economic conditions.

“Australia now faces the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and we’ve taken early and decisive action to protect our economy and to protect Australian jobs and business,” he said.

He said despite continuing near-collapses of major economies, Australia was now better shielded from the dismal conditions in the short and long term, with $10 billion stimulus packages for vulnerable industries, major infrastructure investment and education reform.

Mr Rudd’s first year in the office initially focused on reversing the Howard government’s policy, including scrapping the deeply unpopular WorkChoices, ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and saying sorry to Indigenous Australians on behalf of parliament.

Also included in the long list of key achievements during the year were tax cuts, an agreement to establish a single national school curriculum, the emissions trading scheme scheduled for 2010 and the Australia 2020 Summit.

The Federal Government also highlighted its attempt to open a new way of thinking and governing to tackle Australia’s long-standing policy challenges, with finding an effective framework for intergovernmental relations with COAG being a key priority.

Mr Rudd, who is returning from Peru after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, will be back in parliament for the last two sitting weeks of this year.

He is expected to introduce his new industrial relations system to replace the deeply unpoluar WorkChoices, and push forward the carbon pollution reduction scheme and the rollout of major infrastructure projects.

He said the action-packed year was just the start and assured that Australia would continue its growth.

“Together we will steer our economy though these rough waters and at the same time deliver on our commitments to take Australia confidently forward into the future.”

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