Australian economy grows 0.6% in April-June
By Amy Coopes, AFPSYDNEY -- Australia's economy expanded a steady 0.6 percent in April-June from the previous quarter, data the ruling Labor Party seized upon Wednesday as proof of its credentials just days ahead of elections.
September 5, 2013, 12:16 am TWN
The figure was a slight improvement on the 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2013 and in line with forecasts of 0.6 percent, while the on-year 2.6 percent rate was ahead of market expectations of 2.5 percent.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data thrust economic management back into the election debate as the commodities-powered economy undergoes a painful transition away from mining as a key driver of growth.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the figures, which are well below long-term averages of about 3.25 percent, showed Australia's resilience despite global difficulties and the unwinding of its decade-long Asia mining boom.
“We've grown 15 percent over the last five or six years, I draw your attention to the fact that the British economy has shrunk three percent over the last six years,” Rudd told reporters as he heads into Saturday's national vote.
“The economic credentials of this nation, run by this government over this period of time, are strong. We now have had in Australia, as a result of strong economic management, 22 years of continued positive growth.”
Australia was one of the only advanced economies to dodge recession during the global financial crisis, earning Rudd's government plaudits, and he has emphasized Labor's record as he seeks a third term in office for the center-left party.
The conservative opposition — which opinion polls suggest will win — have also focused on the economy, pointing to the current slowdown as evidence Labor has over-spent and saying more prudent policies are needed.