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OECD "Growth Project" endorses Australian economic performance.

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The first report of the OECD Growth Project "Is There a New Economy? " has singled out Australia as one of six countries as the fast-growth new economies of the 1990s. The OECD report highlights the key role for both macroeconomic and structural policies in enhancing growth performance.

The first report of the OECD Growth Project has been released in advance of the Ministerial Council Meeting which will be held in Paris from 25-27 June. I have been elected to chair this meeting.

The Growth Project by the OECD is investigating why only a handful of OECD economies - the United States, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands and Norway - have achieved a far better performance than other OECD members. In doing so, it is exploring whether features of a "new economy" can be observed: namely, stronger non-inflationary growth linked to a rising influence of information and communications technology.

The report’s preliminary findings - which will be a key topic discussed at the Ministerial Council Meeting - note that while some of the features of a new economy are evident, old economy relationships remain important in shaping growth everywhere.

In identifying the keys to strong growth, the OECD report endorses the priority the Australian Government has given to pursuing sound macroeconomic policies and a comprehensive structural reform agenda.

The OECD notes that countries which improved growth over the 1990s, not only pursued sound structural policies but generally experienced buoyant cyclical conditions, low inflation and improving public budgets. This typifies the experience of the Australian economy, especially in the latter half of the ‘90s.

The report’s findings also endorsed a priority the Government has placed on taxation reform, noting that excessive or strongly distortive taxation is detrimental to entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, the OECD highlights the importance of open and competitive markets in facilitating the use of innovations in information and communications technology.

25 June 2000 Paris