Wednesday, 7 September 2022
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Finance, representing the Treasurer. The June quarter national accounts figures were released today. Can the minister outline to the Senate what the national accounts say about how the national economy is performing at the moment?
I thank Senator Walsh for the question and congratulate her on her appointment as chair of the economics committee. Today's national accounts reflect an economy that's rebounding from the disruption of the pandemic but is being held back by capacity constraints, skills shortages and declining real wages. This is a familiar story that we are seeing, certainly familiar in terms of the economy and the economic challenges that we inherited on forming government.
While the headline figures are encouraging, the data released today confirm the pressures that are being felt by Australian households and that are weighing on our supply chains. The national accounts figures released today show that the economy grew by 0.9 per cent in the June quarter 2022 to be 3.6 per cent higher through the year. GDP increased 3.9 per cent over the 2021-22 financial year. That growth reflected the continuing pandemic recovery and was concentrated in the services industry, particularly as this was the first full quarter of reopened domestic and international borders since the pandemic began some two years ago.
The quarterly increase was driven by increases in household consumption, which was 2.2 per cent, net exports and new business investment, partly offset by inventories and dwelling investment. In particular, household consumption grew by 2.2 per cent in the quarter. It was, I think, six per cent higher through the year and contributed 1.1 percentage points to real GDP growth in the quarter. The household savings ratio fell to 8.7 per cent in June, down from 1.1 per cent in March. Dwelling investment fell as most states continued to experience material and labour shortages, and industries detracted from growth, driven by drawdowns from the mining industry and from agriculture.
The October budget will be our way of delivering on our commitments and delivering on our economic plan. The Albanese government's economic plan is a plan to boost productivity, take the speed limit off the economy, particularly in some of the data we are seeing in the national accounts today, and build up the right kind of growth to make a meaningful difference on cost-of-living pressures for households, without adding to inflationary pressures. A key element of this was last week's Jobs and Skills Summit, where we saw representatives from across the country come together with 36 concrete outcomes to help deal with the issues that we face. I was particularly proud of the emphasis on women during the summit, with agreement that improving women's workforce participation is critical for Australia's future economic prosperity and resilience. Of course, there are also our plans on cleaner and cheaper energy, better training and skilling our workforce, investing in cheaper child care, upgrading the NBN to better capture digital economic opportunity and creating a future made in Australia. (Time expired)
I thank Senator Walsh for the supplementary question. Our economic plan will address the challenges that are facing us. We know that these challenges have been made worse by nearly a decade of wasted opportunities and wrong priorities from those opposite. Our policies will put the national interest first, whether it is through our climate change policy that will address opportunities for investment, innovation and jobs or whether it is through addressing the skills shortages that are affecting different areas of the economy, particularly through our fee-free TAFE policies as well as measures we announced in the Jobs and Skills Summit last week, such as increasing the permanent migration ceiling to 195,000 for this financial year. Also, of course, there is our very significant investment of over $5 billion to make child care cheaper, which will make child care more affordable for families, improve productivity and improve workforce participation.