The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest and most representative business network, today expressed disappointment at the latest National Accounts figures showing lower annualised GDP growth.
GDP increased by 1.8% in the year to March 2019, down from 2.3% in the year to December 2018 and well below the long term average of over 3%.
The latest GDP growth figure falls short of the Federal Budget economic forecast of 2.25%.
Household consumption expenditure increased 0.3% for the quarter and 1.8% for the year to March, but housing investment was down a further 2.5% for the quarter and 3.1% for the year to March 2019.
“Many small businesses have been doing it tough, due to weaker consumer spending over the past year,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said.
“Business investment is softer than we would like, with recent ABS data showing total new capital expenditure has turned down since the beginning of the year.
“The Reserve Bank Board’s decision yesterday to lower the cash rate to 1.25% was timely and it is important that the Government’s planned personal tax cuts are passed when Parliament resumes in July.
“We encourage the Government to work with the business community to identify how best to reinforce resilience in our economy in the face of global and domestic economic uncertainties.
“We are keen to see workplace rules simplified, greater investment in vocational education and training to stop the collapse in skills, and we need to get the price of power down while ensuring the lights stay on and we meet our emissions targets.
“Together these measures will improve productivity, ease cost pressures and give business added confidence to invest and create more jobs for the benefit of all Australians.
“We campaigned on these issues during the election, and they remain important to business, particularly small business, which makes up 98% of all businesses and employs over five million Australians.”
The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of the economy, in every corner of Australia. Our Small Business is a Big Deal campaign gives voice to what small businesses need from the federal government, and our Getting on with Business recommends ways to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire