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Costello's eye on The Lodge, not Economy.

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Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer

3 March 2005


Today Malcolm Edey, Assistant Governor of the RBA, pointed again to the Government’s complacency on exports and capacity constraints as key factors driving inflationary pressures and upward movement in interest rates.

Flustered by criticism like this following yesterday’s double whammy of rising rates and slowing growth, Peter Costello has resorted to more distortions in an attempt to defend the Government’s record.

His first false claim was that he instituted the inflation rate target, when in fact this target was put in place by then Governor Bernie Fraser and the Labor Government in 1993.

The second interest rates furphy was that families are paying $550 a month less now than they were under Labor.

In reality, average monthly mortgage repayments have skyrocketed under the Coalition, from $922 in March 1996 to $1,541 today.

This means families are now paying $619 more per month than they were paying nine years ago, and yesterday’s interest rate rise has added $34 to average monthly repayments.

Over the same period, average monthly mortgage repayments have grown 67 percent while median family income has only grown at just over half that pace (37 percent).

No amount of distortions like those we have seen from the Treasurer in recent days will obscure the fact that yesterday’s double whammy has seriously exposed the economic policy failures of this complacent Government.

And no amount of Costello-nomics - pointing the finger at the states and at unions when the numbers don’t add up - will fix the problems with skills, infrastructure and irresponsible spending that are driving interest rates up.

These issues demand urgent attention, not more excuses, more finger pointing and more slippery barrister talk from the Treasurer.

Peter Costello has his eyes on the Lodge and not on the economy, and Australian families are paying the price.

Thursday Contact Jim Chalmers 0417 141 676