House debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Questions without Notice

Economy

2:21 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. In the face of skyrocketing cost-of-living pressures on Australian households, can the Treasurer confirm that this government has presided over the worst wages growth on record?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

( I thank the member for Rankin for his question. I can confirm to the House that the Wage Price Index, which is the euphemism for wages growth, grew by 2.3 per cent for the year. This was just behind our budget forecast of 2.5 per cent, but, importantly, the wages bill for the economy was 4½ per cent for 2018-19, which was above our budget forecast of 4¼ per cent.

The member for Rankin should be aware that wages growth fell by 1.6 per cent under Labor, and the largest downgrades to wages growth occurred on Labor's watch. If there was anything that was going to cost jobs and if there was anything that was going to see wages fall, that was $387 billion of higher taxes, which the member for Rankin, who we know likes to tax a lot—it is still their policy; they like to spend a lot, as the Prime Minister reminds the House as well. The Labor Party would have seen wages fall and jobs lost, whereas under the coalition wages continue to grow and more than 1.4 million new jobs have been created.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The call alternates. It's been doing it for a long time.