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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1205

Senator COOK —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer, concerns the release of today's national accounts figures. Has the Minister seen those figures? Can the Minister say what picture the figures reveal of the current state of growth of the Australian economy? Is the Minister satisfied that these figures, as has been the case with other recently released economic indicators, demonstrate that the Government's economic policies are having the desired effect?

Senator BUTTON —The Government welcomes the publication of today's national accounts statistics because they confirm a trend of strong economic recovery. The figures show that during the December quarter the economy grew by 1.2 per cent overall while the non-farm economy grew by 1.4 per cent. Further, the Australian Statistician has indicated that economic conditions during the September quarter were better than at first thought. The statistics also show that during the calendar year 1984 the non-farm economy grew by 5.1 per cent compared with 2.6 per cent in 1983 and 0.9 per cent in 1982. I suppose the highlights of today's figures are the clear evidence that the main area of growth has shifted to the private sector, plus figures which also confirm a marked fall in inflation.

I make one other comment and say that the figures generally underline the broadening in the recovery, particularly the lift in private sector activity. In those figures there is clear evidence of a further strengthening of activity since the December quarter of 1984.