Australia's incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his conservative administration would move quickly to cut taxes and take swift action to boost the slowing economy as a long mining boom fades.RELATED: Victory Down Under: Australian conservatives oust left-wing government
Sticking closely to the campaign script that won him Saturday's national elections, Mr. Abbott also used his first day as prime minister-elect to restate his promise to scrap an unpopular tax on carbon emissions and to curb the rising tide of asylum seekers.
Australia elected its first conservative government in six years this weekend, the Liberal National coalition, which handed Kevin Rudd's Labor party its heaviest defeat in decades. The country faces a decelerating economy as the resources boom, fed by industrializing Asia's demand for its raw materials, begins to cool.
"There is border security, there's economic security, and the people expect quite rightly that the incoming government will build a strong and prosperous economy," Mr. Abbott said in a statement Sunday after a briefing from top civil servants. "A very early item of business is scrapping the carbon tax."
Mr. Abbott has pledged to spend billions on constructing new roads to stimulate growth, even while seeking ways to cut government spending and pay down debt as promised in the election campaign.
The Liberal Nationals also promised to dispose of the mining tax — a levy first introduced by Mr. Rudd that sought to curb the "excessive" profits of some iron-ore and coal producers. Mr. Abbott also vowed to help the nation's struggling manufacturers by peeling back other taxes and corporate bureaucracy.
Still, reviving the economy may prove more difficult than Mr. Abbott, who has sought to appeal to voters by mixing populism with traditional conservative values, would have liked.
Already, economic growth has cooled from the rampant pace set at the height of the mining boom, and is expected to moderate further as China's demand for bulk commodities wanes in tune with its slowdown.
Official figures show Australia's $1.5 trillion economy expanded by 2.6% in the second quarter from a year earlier, compared with 3.7% growth in the same quarter of 2012 and 4.4% in the first quarter of that year.