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Thursday, 27 June 2013
Page: 7271

Economy


Ms O'NEILL (Robertson) (14:16): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on the state of the economy? How is the government supporting the big transitions that are underway?


Mr BOWEN (McMahon—Treasurer) (14:17): I thank the member for Robertson for her question. She is a very good local member, including to my mum and dad. Our economy is strong and stable, and Australians have every reason to be very confident in our economic future. We have solid economic growth and since Labor came to power the Australian economy has grown by 14 per cent. Our economy has outperformed every other major advanced economies over this period. We have grown twice as fast as Canada, four times faster than the United States and nearly six times faster than Germany.

We have created jobs and we have low unemployment. We have created more than 950,000 jobs. That compares to 4.8 million jobs lost in the European Union and 2.4 million jobs lost in the United States over exactly the same period. Since Labor came to office, Australia has recorded faster jobs growth than every other major economy and we have delivered jobs growth at twice the rate of Canada and Germany and seven times the rate of the United Kingdom. Our debt is very low in international terms as well.

We need to recognise that Australia's economy is in transition. We are moving from the investment phase to the production phase in the mining industry. This has a very big impact on our economy. This is set against the continued growth of China. We see recent discussions and debates about Chinese economic growth and at what rates that growth will continue. But we know this: the Chinese economy is 50 per cent larger than it was just five years ago, so even lower economic growth in China will continue to have a strong impact on the Australian economy.

We need to work with industry and unions across the board to make sure that we are managing the transition. This morning I have spoken to Tony Shepherd of the Business Council of Australia, to Peter Anderson of ACCI, to Innes Willox of AIG and to Peter Strong of COSBOA and indicated that government will be working very closely with them as we move towards the transition phase of the economy. We will continue to put in place the major economic reforms, like the NBN, like infrastructure and like carbon pricing. We will continue to leave our doors open to business to make sure that we work together cooperatively as we manage this transition.