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Peter's porkies on the AIG report.



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Contact: Craig Emerson 0418 781 386 or Brendan Shaw 0413 013 501

FOR MEDIA

CRAIG EMERSON

Member for Rankin

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INNOVATION, INDUSTRY AND TRADE

24 June 2003

Peter’s porkies on the AIG report

Treasurer Costello today, falsely claimed that the AIG report, How Competitive is Australia? is a glowing endorsement of the Government’s policies.

In fact, the report highlights severe weaknesses in skills formation and private spending on R&D - two key drivers of future economic growth.

The report indicates that skill upgrading has only played a small role in productivity growth and that Australia is among the poorest performers in terms of participation in upper secondary education.

The report also highlights the problems of the Government’s strategy of relying on a low dollar for Australia’s competitiveness, showing the adverse impact that the rising dollar and low business spending on R&D is having on Australian industry.

The Government’s failure to invest in Australia’s future is now starting to affect Australia’s export performance.

Australia’s business spending on R&D is low by international standards and the export outlook is grim.

The Howard Government is living off the harvest from Labor’s economic reform agenda. The AIG calls for a new reform agenda.

This Government has run out of puff.

The absence of a trade and industry policy over the last seven years has made Australia vulnerable again.

Instead of pursuing the low-wage, low-skill road, Labor says Australia should aim for a high-skill, high- wage society.