Since the Coalition government came into power in late 2013, Australia’s gross government debt (debt without subtraction of assets) has more than doubled. The last reading available from the Office of Financial Management in June 2013 showed gross debt at AUS$257.4 billion – meaning the Coalition government has added more than AUS$300 billion in debt to arrive at the current debt of AUS$571.4 billion.
However, Australian gross debt has not only risen under the current government – it also grew under the previous one. Kevin Rudd’s and later Julia Gillard’s Labor government came into office in late 2007, when government debt was at approximately AUS$54 billion. Labor left office more than AUS$250 billion in debt, having added almost AUS$200 billion.
In comparison to other developed countries, Australian government debt remains relatively low. In 2018, it was at 66 percent of GDP, compared to 122 percent in France and 239 percent in Japan. Since Australia is borrowing to invest in infrastructure and different industry sectors, debt incurred now can also have positive effects if investments end up paying off.