Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to the Treasurer's answer earlier in question time in which he talked about the economy but did not mention capital expenditure. How much did capital expenditure fall in the September quarter? How much has it fallen since the last election?
Mr Nikolic interjecting—
I know why the member opposite asked this question: because he seems to be in denial that Australia is actually moving past the investment phase of the mining boom. The rest of the country and the rest of this side of the House understand that the Australian economy is going through a transition. They will know that resources investment in this country has gone from about eight per cent of GDP down to about three per cent of GDP. That is what happens when you move out of the investment phase of a mining boom. That might become news, because those opposite seemed to think that resources and mining were going to fuel their spending forever and ever, and that is why they never did anything to curb spending.
The shadow Treasurer is right to point out that non-mining investment also fell. He does not understand that, when an economy transitions, the investment follows the demand. What I outlined in my earlier answer, if he chose to listen, is that what we are seeing is a pick-up in the demand side of the economy. As the economy transitions, in the investment side of the equation, currently what we are seeing is them picking up and utilising existing capacity, and they are moving into that existing capacity as the demand picks up. And, as we continue to support policies that promote growth and jobs, then investment will follow at a later stage. That is what happens when an economy transitions.
Those opposite may pick out simple points of data to engage in their pessimistic view of the Australian economy. They may wish to do that. But the good news is that the majority of Australians are confident about our economy—and there are more optimists than there are pessimists about the Australian economy, according to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey. Those opposite may want to indulge in their parade of pessimism when it comes to the economy, but the Australian people are going to be backed by this government, because they are out there working and saving and investing, and we are going to back them to do that. Those opposite are simply going to seek to discourage them, and that is why they do not deserve to sit on this side of the House.