Josh Frydenberg shouldn’t be using the fires and Coronavirus as excuses for his long-standing failures on the economy.
The full economic impacts of the events of this summer remain to be seen but what is already clear is that the economy was weak before the fires hit and before most people had even heard of Coronavirus.
The last National Accounts before the fires hit were disappointing and the Morrison Government’s own mid-year Budget update downgraded growth and wages, and said unemployment would rise.
Growth had already slowed since the election and almost halved since Morrison and Frydenberg took over.
Quarterly growth had slowed in the September quarter, and annual growth was already well-below Budget forecasts and well-below trend.
The private domestic economy had already gone backwards for two quarters, consumption was growing at its slowest pace since the Global Financial Crisis, total private business investment was going backwards, wages were only growing at nearly one-fifth the pace of profits growth, and productivity had already declined in the September quarter and over the year.
The economy is floundering because Scott Morrison had a political strategy to buy the election but not a plan to boost wages or grow the economy.
Because of the Morrison Government’s economic failures Australia meets the serious challenges and uncertainties of fire season and the Coronavirus outbreak from a position of weakness, not strength.