Media Release: Australia Rates in Top Three in the World on Economic Freedom

13 January 2012

Australia’s strong economic fundamentals have received another resounding endorsement today with the release of the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal’s annual 2012 Index of Economic Freedom report.

The report ranks Australia as number three in the world for economic freedom, well ahead of the United States and our other major trading partners.

Our overall score of 83.1 is 0.6 point higher than last year, reflecting better scores in trade freedom, government spending, and fiscal freedom.

This recognition is testament to Australia's solid growth amid global  uncertainty, our strong fiscal discipline, and effective regulatory structures marked by transparency, accountability and flexibility.

It underscores Australia's continued reputation as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world.

The report states:

“Australia’s regulatory environment is one of the most reliable, transparent, and efficient in the world, offering a high degree of certainty for business planning.”

This report emphasises the very favourable conditions for continuing investment and growth in Australia in 2012.

It is further evidence that by global comparison, Australia walks tall because of the relative strength of our economy under the Gillard Government's strong economic management.

While continued global volatility will impact on Australia, our economic fundamentals are rock-solid: we’ve got strong growth, low inflation, contained unemployment and very low debt.

Today’s report is the latest endorsement from the international community of the Gillard Government’s strong fiscal discipline.

Australia recently achieved the gold plated AAA rating from all three ratings agencies for the very first time in our nation's history.

But we cannot afford to be complacent - that is why the Government is investing heavily in skills, infrastructure and productivity - and is tackling the patchwork pressures in our economy with tax cuts for small business - opposed by the Coalition.

The Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal’s annual 2012 Index of Economic Freedom report is available here, with a link to Australia’s page here.