House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Questions without Notice


2:07 pm

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

My question is to the Treasurer. Why is the Treasurer congratulating himself on the economy when in the eighth year of this Liberal government wages growth has never been weaker?

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

I'm not going to take a lecture from an opposition spokesman as, when they were in government, for three out of the six years they saw a reduction in real minimum wages. The fact of the matter is we're celebrating the Australian people and the Australian economy's resilience in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic. We're celebrating the fact that Australia has fared better than nearly every other country in the world in both the health and the economic front. We still have a long way to go and a lot of ground to make up, but we are celebrating the fact that Australians are getting back into work.

The member for Rankin would know that payroll jobs data was up today, and it's now been up for three consecutive fortnights. When it comes to real wages, when we take into account inflation, they have grown by an average of 0.7 per cent under the coalition. That's in line with the 20-year average. Of course we've had a terrible hit to the economy with the pandemic, and, as the RBA Governor has said, this is a very challenging time for the economy. But our focus has been on jobs, creating more jobs and helping Australians get back into work. That is what occurred and that is what the numbers are showing.