Thursday, February 16, 2012

'It's the Boom Times Baby - Why So Sad?'

AUSTRALIA'S top book keeper today asked the nation, Why are you so gloomy. 

  • Aussies are acting like this is Greece
  • We have a "surprisingly bright" future
  • Some areas are under stress however

 The national economy has "an incredibly bright future," Secretary of the Treasury Martin Parkinson told a Senate estimates committee today.

Australians had "a lot to be optimistic about", but there was an overwhelmingly negative sense dominating the view of the economy, "as if we live in Greece".

We are enduring "the boom with gloom," Dr Parkinson said.

It was an upbeat projection of the economic fate of Australia at a time when job losses in airlines, the finance sector and manufacturing are painting dismal forecasts by some observers.

And it clashed with the Opposition's claim that the introduction of carbon pricing from July would cost jobs and close down companies.

"If you look at business and consumer confidence they are surprisingly low given the set of circumstances confronting Australia," said Dr Parkinson.

"I'm not in any way attempting to downplay the fact there are parts of Australian business that face very serious challenges in terms of transforming to gain advantage from the opportunities open to us.

"But I do think the whole mind set is overdone. It's almost as if most Australians think we live in Greece. We don't. We actually have an incredibly bright future ahead of us.

"Yes there are challenges, but there are always challenges. The opportunities we have in front of us are of a sort we've never seen before."

Under questioning, Dr Parkinson said his personal thinking was "somewhat surprising that there isn't, in a sense, more focus at the national level, at the opportunities open to us".

"But there is an overwhelming negative sense about much of the national discussion and debate...
Yes we have a multi-speed economy at the moment and there are some parts that face significant challenges but Australians have a lot to be optimistic about."

Dr Parkinson said governments here and overseas had to decide on a trade-off of new wealth and the need to improve the nation's health, welfare and environment.

"The classic question raised in China is: Do we wait to get rich before we address these challenges, or do we do them as we try and get rich," he said.

"And it's a question that every country faces."