Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers is calling for a budget shake-up. Picture: Glenn Hunt
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers is calling for a budget shake-up. Picture: Glenn Hunt

Shocking figures over Australian economy

SHADOW Treasurer Jim Chalmers is calling on the government to release its mid-year budget update early, in a bid to increase spending and give the economy a boost.

Mr Chalmers is at the Tasmanian Labor state conference in Burnie on Saturday, where he will call on the federal government to bring forward its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook to show Australians their plan for the flagging economy.

Next weeks' national accounts will show the economy is growing at its slowest annual rate since 2000, the year Australia narrowly escaped recession.

 

 

This year's federal budget was already brought forward early when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled the budget in April, weeks out from the election.

Mr Morrison has maintained the July tax cuts would keep the Australian economy strong.

Tasmanian Labor is licking its wounds after a bad federal election saw the party lose two lower house seats and a Senate seat.

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White with Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers. Picture: Chris Kidd
Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White with Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers. Picture: Chris Kidd

In his speech, released to the media this morning, Mr Chalmers will claim the government has failed to come up with an economic plan.

"An earlier budget update would give the government a circuit-breaking opportunity to come up with the economic plan, which has been so conspicuously absent so far," Mr Chalmers will say.

"By providing an early economic statement, the government could correct some of the core forecasts of the 2019 budget, which they have got so badly wrong. This includes their forecasts for wages growth, which they've stuffed up in every budget and budget update since they came to office.

"It will also allow them to update their forecasts for iron ore prices, profits, and their assumptions for the dollar - all of which should substantially strengthen the budget position and take away their excuses to do nothing to stimulate the economy."

The shadow treasurer will also call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government to bring forward planned spending on the Bass Highway upgrade in Tasmania, replacing the Bridgewater Bridge and upgrading the Hobart to Sorell highway corridor.

The Bridgewater Bridge needs a much-needed upgrade. Picture: Kelvin Ball
The Bridgewater Bridge needs a much-needed upgrade. Picture: Kelvin Ball

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White will target job growth and better pay and conditions in her speech to the conference.

"In the last five years Tasmania has lost 2000 apprentices and trainees. If this is not turned around then young Tasmanians will leave the state to pursue job opportunities elsewhere," she says.

Tasmanian state secretary Stuart Benson says the federal election result was "extremely distressing", and he paid tribute to the three MPs who lost their seats.

The party will also debate adding "public access to drug testing facilities" - pill-testing - to Tasmanian Labor's official platform.

The Northern Central Policy Branch also wants the conference to debate requiring airports to provide affordable parking, and if they can't, they want the state government to compulsorily acquire the airports.

The West Coast Branch also wants the state and federal Labor parties to investigate the establishment of a commercial airport on the West Coast of Tasmania.

- With AAP