Slow GDP growth a risk for our future: Bowen

Opinion 2Federal Labor has expressed concerned that the June National Accounts show annual growth of only 1.8 per cent, which is a long way short of the growth potential of the Australian economy.

With annual economic growth below 2 per cent, and with it being below 2 per cent for three of the last four quarters, this is now the worst run economic growth performance since the GFC. The June National Accounts put Australia’s annual growth performance below that of Canada, USA, New Zealand and the OECD.

The thing about the Treasurer saying ‘better days are ahead’ is that he can say it forever without actually having to deliver better days now. Without total government investment – driven largely by the new Royal Adelaide hospital and the Weatherill Government – and government consumption, today’s growth number would have been flat.

It’s ironic that we have the Turnbull Government trying to whip up fear of socialism while it relies on public spending to prop up the June quarter growth figures. Average wages fell 0.1 per cent in the June quarter which is another reminder of the squeeze being felt by low and middle income earners. And living standards slipped significantly.

Despite these concerns, the Turnbull Government’s policy to cut penalty rates remains in place and it continues to fail to deal adequately with the surge in power prices. The ABS notes that for the last five quarters, households have been spending more than their incomes.

This is in line with the RBA Governor’s concerns around household debt and the risks this poses to future economic growth.

Chris Bowen MP, Shadow Treasurer

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