Defying skeptics, the Australian economy has once again shown its strength.
Growth is up, unemployment is down and this week Standard & Poor’s, one of the major international credit rating agencies, raised Australia and reaffirmed our AAA status.
The economic recovery has been “faster and stronger”, they said, unemployment “has fallen surprisingly fast” and the Morrison government’s fiscal and health response has been “swift and decisive”.
The economy remains resilient and S&P does not “expect small epidemics or short blockages of” circuit breakers “to derail our expected fiscal recovery.”
Remarkably, Australia is one of only three countries to receive an improvement from S&P this year and one of nine countries to have a AAA credit rating from the three major rating agencies.
This is important for families and businesses because the stronger a country’s credit rating, the lower the cost of borrowing for its government and bank.
As the Prime Minister travels abroad this week to meet with G7 leaders, he assumes that Australia has outperformed all major advanced economies over the past year.
Germany, France, the UK and Japan all saw their economies contract in the March quarter, while the Australian economy grew.
Our economy is now larger than it was when the pandemic began, nine months earlier than forecast in last year’s budget.
Growth over the past three quarters, at 8.7 percent, is the strongest seen in Australia in over half a century.
The labor market has recovered five times faster than what Australia experienced after the recession of the 1990s.
More than 150,000 people have lost unemployment benefits since the end of JobKeeper, and today there are more people working in Australia than before the start of COVID.
A feat that no other major advanced economy has achieved.
The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.5 percent, and since the peak of this crisis, more than 900,000 jobs have been created.
A third of these new jobs were taken by young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and 57% went to women.
In Western Australia alone, 110,000 new jobs have been created.
Youth unemployment in Australia is now the lowest in 12 years, underemployment is the lowest in seven years and this week vacancies rose for the 12th consecutive month, the survey showing more than 213,000 jobs available.
What is particularly significant about this positive economic data is the fact that the private sector is leading the recovery.
Household consumption has increased 14% since June, the strongest period of growth on record. As restrictions have been relaxed, people have returned to work and tax cuts have put more money in families’ pockets; spending has risen sharply, including in cafes, restaurants and hotels.
Motor vehicle sales topped 100,000 in May.
A bumper harvest allowed agricultural production to reach its highest level in seven years.
HomeBuilder has taken housing investment to its highest level in about 17 years.
New machinery and equipment rose more than 10 percent in the March quarter, the highest level in 18 years.
Schibello Coffee, a family business that I visited recently, is a good example.
Using extended instant asset write-off, we announced in last year’s budget, they’ve purchased a new roaster and extended their production line, allowing them to compete for larger contracts they’re looking to hire. more staff.
This is an example of a business that finances itself to invest, hire and grow.
But despite the strong momentum we have seen across the economy, there is no room for complacency and we need to secure economic recovery.
That’s why, in this year’s budget, we announced over $ 40 billion in new economic support linked to COVID, including tax breaks for more than 10 million Australians, investment incentives for businesses, expanded and expanded skills programs and record spending on infrastructure.
The pandemic persists and remains a threat, as evidenced by the recent COVID outbreak in Victoria.
Indeed, since the initial nationwide lockdown, Victorians have been subjected to more than 140 days of lockdown, compared to an average of just six days in other states and territories.
Out-of-school children, separated families and closed businesses; the impact was severe.
These are difficult days for the nation and the world as we continue to face a once-in-a-century pandemic.
But when we think about what more than 25 million Australians have achieved in the past year in terms of health and economics, it is quite remarkable.
We are not yet out of this crisis, but by working together we will get there and be stronger on the other side.
Posted in The West Australian.
Treasurer, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Member of Parliament for Kooyong