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Thursday, 29 March 2012


Martin Ferguson’s and Wayne Swan’s comments in the last 36 hours show that the government is hopelessly divided on the issue of productivity.

Productivity growth has stalled under this Government. The level of productivity in the December Quarter 2011 was below what it was in March 2010. Australia has been producing less for a given effort.

Yesterday, the Resource Minister Martin Ferguson admitted this:

“It concerns me to see our productivity performance deteriorating.”

(Source: Martin Ferguson, 28/03/12)

However, today Wayne Swan is at odds with this assessment:

“So much of the debate at the moment would have people believe that we live in a low productivity economy, but we don't.”

(Source: Wayne Swan, 29/03/12)

Productivity is one of the most important issues facing the Australian economy. In 2006 Wayne Swan emphatically stated:

“If we don’t lift our productivity, then we can’t in the long term keep downward pressure on inflation and we won’t have the guarantee that interest rates won’t be rising further into the future.”

(Source: Wayne Swan, 3/05/06)

The Treasurer must admit that his failure to address productivity has led interest rates on home mortgages and small business loans to be higher than they would otherwise be.

The dead hand of this Government has contributed to the decline in the nation's productivity growth. Business confidence has been eroded by a series of anti business measures including increased red tape and onerous new taxes on carbon and mining.


In contrast to the Government, the Coalition has a positive six step plan to reverse the productivity decline.

1. Genuine welfare reform to lift participation in work since there is no-one so unproductive as the person who is able to work but is not doing so. 2. Public sector reform to deliver better, more cost-effective services. 3. Red tape reform to cut business regulatory costs by at least $1 billion a year. 4. Competition reform to ensure that large and small businesses are competing on a

genuinely level playing field. 5. Infrastructure reform to ensure best value from Commonwealth spending. 6. Labour market reform to encourage higher pay for better work.

Only the Coalition can be trusted to restore productivity growth to the Australian economy.