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Troubling National Accounts highlights fragility of economy

"The release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of data showing a further period of slow economic growth in the September quarter is a reminder of the fragility of the economy. It is troubling that sluggish growth was recorded despite very strong growth in exports and government services. These positive elements are masking the extent of weakness in the domestic economy and the significant impact of local and global headwinds including trade disruptions, extensive drought and a cyclical housing downturn," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox said today.

"Amid the low numbers evident in much of today's National Accounts, the red ink recorded against Australia's productivity performance is the most disturbing. In the period to the end of September we saw the third quarter of negative productivity growth in the past year. This pulled the annual rate of productivity growth into negative territory. This means we are employing more people and producing less on average.

"Clearly this needs to be turned around and it points to the critical importance of measures to lift business investment, improve workforce skills, address excess regulatory burdens and improve organisational performance. These need to be shared objectives and responsibilities: shared by governments across the federation, shared by employers and employees and shared by the broader community. Without a turnaround in productivity we will not return to the more robust growth in incomes and economic competitiveness on which advances in our broader well-being rest," Mr Willox said.

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Tony Melville – 0419 190 347