In 2013 Joe became the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia.
He was responsible for all economic policy including the Federal Budget and the financial services sector in the economy.
On taking office Joe inherited a budget with large deficits and increasing debt. It had legislated spending programs in health, education and disability services that were growing significantly without appropriate funding.
Moreover the iron ore price that had held up government revenue collapsed as the vital mining and resources sector moved from a construction phase into a production phase. Consumer and business confidence was low and there were were high expectations of painless reform.
Joe’s signature achievements include reforms in debt and liability management, welfare reform, health care reform and an end to business welfare.
In addition, and as a result of significant Budget savings, Joe was able to deliver the largest federal infrastructure package in a generation though a commitment to a new airport in Sydney, new roads in each state, a Northern Australia package and he developed and delivered the Asset Recycling Program based on the privatization proceeds of Medibank Private.
Joe founded the $20bn Medical Research Future Fund and delivered the biggest reforms in foreign investment laws in thirty years.
With new tax initiatives such as the Instant Asset Write off for small business, a crackdown on Multinational Tax rorting and the delivery of Low Value GST changes, as well the sunset bound Deficit Reduction Levy, Joe was able to deliver a fairer tax system that collected less tax revenue (Based on projected growth).
Joe abolished the unfair Carbon Tax and the Mining Tax (and associated unfunded spending).
As a result of spending and tax initiatives, the deficits got smaller and the projected debt trajectory was turned in the right direction.
Most of the reforms Joe announced were delivered either in his time as Treasurer or in subsequent years.
The economy continued to grow and unemployment continued to fall during Joe’s tenure as Treasurer.