Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urged Australians here on Wednesday to go into 2009 with optimism and energy.

In his new year’s message, Rudd said his government was determined to do all it could in the new year to protect Australian families, jobs, businesses and retirement savings against the ravages of the global economic downturn.

“As we enter 2009, we know it will be a very tough year for the global economy. And it will be a tough year for Australia as well. What is important is that we remember we are all in this together,” he said.

“And, if we stick together, businesses, unions, employers, employees, governments at different levels, federal, state and local, and the whole community, we can and will see Australia through,” he said.

The prime minister also said the Australians are a tough people. “We’re a resilient people and in hard times we also care for each other and for other members of the community,” he said.

“Let us each have a restful break this holiday season and let us enter 2009 with optimism and with renewed energy.” Xinhua

Rudd also wished all Australians a “happy, healthy and fulfilling new year”.