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Little joy for the million Australians unemployed



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53

LITTLE JOY FOR THE MILLION AUSTRALIANS UNEMPLOYED

The 0.3% growth in Gross Domestic Product recorded in the December quarter has lifted Australia off the canvas in Mr Keating's recession, but we are still on our knees.

In itself, the growth is welcome, especially since it follows a long period of decline.

But there's still a long, long way to go before Australia will be on its feet.

The 0.3% growth was short of market expectations and underlines the inherent weakness of the Australian economy.

Against a backdrop of two quarters of growth, the GDP figures published by the Bureau of Statistics today included some extremely disturbing trends.

The most notable of these include:

Stocks did NOT turn around as has been widely expected.

Private investment continued its fall. In fact, the decline in investment accelerated further to minus 3.3%.

* Imports have continued to grow more strongly than exports.

* GDP per capita has fallen for the last 7 quarters-a clear indication of falling living standards.

* When adjusted for the fall in the terms of trade (ie the prices paid for Australia's imports and exports), GDP in the December quarter actually fell.

These latest statistics hold little joy for the million Australians who are unemployed.

The accelerating fall in investment, particularly in equipment (down about 8% in the December quarter), is a disturbing sign in relation to the economy's capacity to create jobs.

Sadly, the 0.3% growth in the December quarter will do little to create jobs for the million Australians Mr Keating's recession has left jobless.

Australia cannot hope to achieve a sustainable recovery from a spending spree on bankcard- Mr Keating's O n e Job" strategy.

Australia can only achieve a sustainable recovery by facing up to the fundamental reforms that are outlined in ■Fightback".

17 March 1992 Brisbane

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Contact: David Turnbull (06) 2774277 D40/92