JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
THURSDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: National Accounts; Australia’s economy slowing last quarter and shrinking this quarter because of Scott Morrison’s incompetence; Australia’s growth now slower than US, UK, and the OECD average; Anthony Albanese’s vision to build back better after the pandemic.
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Data from the ABS showed the economy expanded or grew by 0.7% throughout the June quarter but - there's a big, big, but. I want to talk to the Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers about it. Good morning to you Jim, thank you for your time mate.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks, Marcus. Before we talk about those figures, I just wanted to convey on behalf of our team our condolences on losing your dad. I'm sure I speak on behalf of all your listeners mate when I say that you're in our thoughts.
PAUL: Thank you, that's very kind of you Jim. I really appreciate it. And again thank you to you and to Albo and all of those people from your side of politics that have made contact with me. It's very kind and I appreciate it.
But these stronger than expected results, they predate these most recent series of lockdowns, you know the ones that have shut down New South Wales and are ongoing in Victoria and the ACT. Devastating economic consequences. So look, I think we'll find that the National Accounts will show a different GDP next time round in September.
CHALMERS: They definitely will, Marcus. Even those numbers that you refer to from the June quarter a couple of months ago, they showed that the economy was slowing even before Sydney and then Melbourne locked-down again. Those figures were positive in one sense, but our economy is growing slower than the UK, the US, the OECD average, all the rest of it. So even before the lockdowns there was enough to concern us. And as you rightly point out, the September quarter that we're in now that will be very, very, weak. Every economist thinks that the economy will actually go backwards in the September quarter. It remains to be seen what happens after that. We want the economy to recover strongly but in order for that to happen it needs the Prime Minister to get his act together on vaccines and quarantine.
CHALMERS: The failure to do that is the reason why we've got these lockdowns and why we've got all this economic weakness.
PAUL: It's a worry, absolutely. And when is it going to end. I don't know what the exact figures are but in excess of a billion dollars each and every week that Sydney remains locked-down. And you know, Sydney, New South Wales, and Victoria are the engine rooms of the Australian economy Jim, as you know. And we can't sustain this. Hopefully, we'll see a way out of this with increased vaccination by well, the New South Wales Premier's giving us a date of around October 17/18, but the economic consequences will be dire?
CHALMERS: You're quite right, Marcus. The economy nationally is shedding hundreds of millions of dollars a day and at least a couple of billion dollars a week because of these failures on vaccines and quarantine. And all of these things are linked. We all want the place to open up safely and confidently. We all want the economy to recover strongly. But being at the back of the global pack on vaccines also means we're at the back of the global pack on economic growth. And those two failures are interlinked.
PAUL: All right, what have we got to look forward to once we return to a normal, hopefully, way of living Jim? We will see a bounce back, there's no doubt about that. But do you think it will be as strong as what the Government's predicting?
CHALMERS: It remains to be seen. I hope it is. I genuinely hope that the economy bounces back strongly because the stronger the economic growth, the broader, more inclusive that that growth can be, that means more opportunities for more people in more parts of Australia, and that's what we should all be on about. So we want that.
CHALMERS: But in order to get there, we've got to get those vaccines right, the quarantine right, and all the other bits and pieces that are so crucial to the national plan and the reopening of Australia. But there's a broader issue here as well. I think the main difference between us and the Government - and you have Albo on your show a lot, which is terrific and he talks about this.
PAUL: Well, the other bloke won't come on!
CHALMERS: Well, we're happy to come on Marcus, as you know! I think one of the big differences between those two guys is that Albo thinks that after this pandemic, as we emerge from it, that we can be better than before. We can build back better. We don't have to go back to all the wage stagnation and insecure work. We can do better than that. We should be using this period to work out what it was about Australia before the pandemic that we loved and want to hold on to, and what is it about Australia that we can do better.
PAUL: Absolutely. All right, Jim, I'll have to leave it there, the news is upon us. But you've got to ask yourself that really serious question: are you any better off now than you were seven, eight years ago? And I'm not sure anybody outside of big business is. Thank you Jim, appreciate it.