Aust economy powers ahead in early 2018

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)


Treasurer Scott Morrison says he hopes the NSW Blues get as decent a result in Wednesday’s State of Origin opener as the Australian economy.

Annual economic growth soared to its highest level in almost two years, buoyed by a rebound in exports in the first three months of 2018, after a subdued end to 2017.

The economy grew by 1.0 per cent in the March quarter, the national accounts report released on Wednesday showed, which was double the rate of the increase in the December quarter.

This lifted the annual growth rate to 3.1 per cent – faster than most economists had predicted.

“I’m hoping that this evening the Blues will get as decent result as the Australian economy has been given in these national accounts today – apologies to Queenslanders listening,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

The treasurer said Australia’s growth was above the OECD average and better than all the G7 nations.

“Australia has climbed back to the top of the leaderboard,” he said.


The growth was also broadly based, with an “encouraging trend” in non-mining and business investment, including extra machinery, equipment and commercial vehicle sales.

“Every time an Australian sees a ute with a phone number on the side, that’s the sign of a stronger economy,” Mr Morrison said.

Looking ahead, the treasurer said the health and medical sectors, defence industries and manufacturing would contribute to growth.

“They won’t be as employment-intensive as they were before, but they will be profit-intensive,” he said.

A rise in average compensation per employee in the private sector was helping the economy, but consumption could be boosted further by the parliament passing income tax cuts.


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