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Transcript of doorstop: Melbourne: 7 August 2008: employment figures; interest rates.

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DOORSTOP Melbourne

7 August 2008


SUBJECTS: Employment Figures; Interest Rates

TREASURER: These employment figures are welcome, particularly given that we face the most difficult global economic conditions in 25 years. There’s employment growth in July of about 11,000, and also unemployment is steady at 4.3 per cent. These figures are also welcome because I think they put into perspective some of the more pessimistic comment on the economy in recent days. Over to you.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

TREASURER: Well, that’s a matter for the statistician and I think you should take his advice on that. But what I can say is that the statistician, like everybody else, has to work within his budget, and the statistician is doing that.

JOURNALIST: What do you think but?

TREASURER: Well, the statistician has made the observations in the bulletin, and I think he stands by the figures.

JOURNALIST: What do you think these figures will mean for interest rates?

TREASURER: Well, that’s entirely a matter for the Reserve Bank. As we know, employment growth has been strong. These figures are particularly welcome, but employment growth is slowing and it’s slowing on the back of eight interest rate rises over

three years and of course the most difficult global economic conditions in 25 years, particularly the oil shock in recent times.

JOURNALIST: Just on interest rates, what measures is the Government taking to ensure that the big banks pass on any official cuts?

TREASURER: Well, I’ve said very clearly that as the banks followed up the official cash rate, they should follow down any changes in the official cash rate. But it’s premature to be predicting any action from the Reserve Bank. But we’ll keep an eagle eye on the banks as

we go through the year.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

TREASURER: No, it’s entirely a matter for the statistician. He is independent. He adjusts his budget to suit his judgement. That’s his job.