Wayne Swan – Finance Minister of the Year

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Treasurer Wayne Swan will be recognised today by Euromoney magazine as 2011’s ‘Finance Minister of the Year’.

Wayne Swan has been recognised for steering Australia through the global financial crisis. He will be the first Australian to win this award since Paul Keating, who was hailed as the world’s greatest treasurer, in 1984.

The magazine said Mr Swan had presided over the best economy in the developed world, citing record low unemployment of 5.3 per cent, economic growth of 5 per cent since the GFC, a rise in the pension and tax cuts, all while keeping debt at 7.2 per cent of GDP compared to the G7 average of 80 per cent.

“Australia’s position within the global financial community has never been stronger than it is today,” the magazine wrote.

“Swan has undoubtedly been blessed with a number of advantages, including inheriting a sound economy and the natural resources bounty that has allowed Australian trade with China in particular to boom.”

“Swan has continued to deliver this strong and steady performance despite political difficulties at home, in which his Labor Party only has the smallest possible majority through the support of independent MPs.”

Paul Keating, who won the award in 1984 after floating the Australian dollar, said Mr Swan deserved credit for his work during the GFC.

With major world economies at or near recession, Mr Swan’s economic performance was second to none among OECD economies, Mr Keating said. “The Australian budget under his management will be returning to surplus in two years. Major economies may not achieve this in twenty years,” he said.

Joe Hockey said Mr Swan had also turned a $22 billion surplus into a $47 billion deficit and rode into history on the coat-tails of Mr Costello, who should be the one receiving the award.

Mr Swan said the award was a tribute to millions of Australians whose hard work and resilience made “our economy one of the strongest in the developed world”.