Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says the coronavirus and bushfire crises have presented the Morrison government with a stark “reality check” of Australia’s overall economic health.
In a speech to Australian business leaders on Wednesday, Mr Albanese said the economy was at a “critical juncture” amid virus- and bushfire-related disruption.
But the Labor leader rejected the notion these issues were solely to blame for the flagging economy as costs to small business and tourism sectors mount.
“The government would have us believe that the economy was doing just fine before the bushfires and coronavirus,” Mr Albanese said.
“We need a reality check there, because before those events, interest rates were cut three times.”
Mr Albanese said other signs included Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe’s discussion of potential unconventional monetary policy, wage stagnation, stalling productivity, consumer confidence declines and rising debt.
“These are the consequences directly of a government without an economic plan,” he said.
As Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg put the finishing touches on a coronavirus stimulus package, Mr Albanese said the Coalition’s oft-flaunted economic credentials were at stake.
“The immediate challenge before this government is substantial and nothing less than three decades of continuous economic growth is on the line,” he said.
“The test for this government is whether they can keep workers in their jobs, keep businesses afloat and Australia out of recession – a test that the former Labor government passed with flying colours.”