The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given the Australian economy a resounding vote of confidence and endorsed a return to surplus, according to treasurer Wayne Swan.
In an address to the financial services industry in Sydney today, Swan described the latest IMF assessment of the country as a thumbs up and a vote of confidence in the economic fundmentals of Australia - solid growth, low unemployment, strong investment pipeline, lower interest rates and rate of inflation.
He also denied that the IMF had suggested Australia abandoning its bid to return the budget to surplus in the event of a sharp global economic downturn.
"If you read the IMF report, they've endorsed a return to surplus and the reasons for it," he said.
"It sends a message to the world about the strength of our economy, it gives maximum flexibility to the Reserve Bank to adjust monetary policy."
Denying he was presenting a too-rosy picture of Australian finances, despite indications from the IMF that the Australian dollar may be over-valued and that local banks could be dangerously concentrated, he said, "I know that there are people who will go out there like Tony Abbott and talk our economy down and behave in a Tea Party fashion, but the fact is that the fundamentals of the Australian economy are strong," he said.