Sep 3, 2014

Weaker growth in June quarter rounds off a middling economic year

The economy slowed back to 2013 growth levels in the June quarter, today's national accounts show, but labour productivity continues to perform strongly.

Earlier this week, The Australian Financial Review lamented that the government had failed to make the case for industrial relations reform. It was fine to beat up unions, the Fin‘s editorial writer noted, but the government has to explain the need for reform. But for much of his time as opposition leader, Tony Abbott wanted business to make the case for industrial relations reform, a kind of “leading from behind” approach induced by his worry about WorkChoices returning to haunt the Coalition. And today, Eric Abetz was reported in Fairfax as expansively declaring that Labor has now been “neutralised” on IR reform, and that changing industrial relations was now a “top priority” for the government.

The problem is, whether it’s business making the case for reform, or the government, or the op-ed writers of the national dailies, the facts keep stubbornly getting in the way. Today’s national accounts for the June quarter from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show strong private sector labour productivity growth, with market sector gross value added per hour worked up 0.9%, and 3.3% during the year — significantly higher than 2012-13’s improvement. The result was particularly humiliating for the business-executive run World Economic Forum, which just released a report attacking Australia’s “rigid” and “uncompetitive” industrial relations system.

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One thought on “Weaker growth in June quarter rounds off a middling economic year

  1. Bill Hilliger

    Australia will be in recession before the current Liberal / National Party government term is over.

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