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Vehicle registrations: down before Asia hits.

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Hon Gareth Evans QC MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Treasurer


24 April 1998 


Vehicle registrations - down before Asia hits


Today’s vehicle registration figures throw another cloud over Australia’s future growth and jo bs prospects.


The figures suggest that Peter Costello’s reliance on a strong domestic economy to cushion us from the Asian crisis is well and truly misplaced.


After record growth last year, vehicle registrations have been dropping for the last three mont hs in seasonally adjusted terms, and have now - with today’s ABS figures- gone backwards in trend terms.


Consumers are closing their wallets, well ahead of any impact from the Asian crisis. Business bought fewer vehicles too, in what may well be a worryin g pointer to a downturn in investment in plant and equipment.


The vehicle figures come on top of the recent sharp fall in retail sales and declining consumer confidence, and confirm the gloomy outlook for future employment in the most recent DEETYA Leadin g Indicator.


Peter Costello is relying on domestic consumers to take up the slack as Asian exports dry up. There is mounting evidence that consumers have not enough confidence in his economic management to go out and spend. That is very bad news for jobs, and for almost 800,000 unemployed Australians, who’ve been desperately waiting for work through two wasted years of Coalition Government.


Next month’s Budget will need to deliver on jobs. The Government cannot pin its faith on domestic demand to save its skin, especially in the face of the threat from Asia on the trade front.


Contact: Margot Marshall 0419 497 103