Peter Costello

Media Releases

OECD Survey of the Australian Economy

NO.009

OECD SURVEY OF THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY

The 2003 Economic Survey of Australia released by the OECD today provides a strong endorsement of Australia's economic performance and the Government's reform policies. It notes that the pursuit of structural reforms across a very broad front and prudent macroeconomic policies have combined to make the Australian economy "one of the best performers in the OECD", and also one notably resilient to internal and external shocks.

In light of an expected improvement in the global environment the OECD predicts robust growth of 3¾ per cent for 2004, recovering from drought-affected growth of 3¼ per cent in 2003.

The Government notes the OECD's assessment that Australia will continue to grow strongly. It also welcomes the OECD's recognition of the role of the Government's sustained economic reform in supporting robust growth despite the weakness elsewhere in the world.

The OECD points out that in line with the Government's objective of raising living standards, further reforms will be needed to encourage more people to join and remain in the work force and to steadily raise their productivity.

The Government welcomes the OECD's assessment that further reforms to labour, product and financial markets and to social policies will be needed. It will continue to press on with reforms in key areas to maintain Australia's sound position, and again calls on the Senate to pass budget measures which would help improve the living standards of all Australians.

The Survey notes that monetary policy settings are appropriate and that inflation has been kept in line with the 2 to 3 per cent target band over the cycle. It also assesses that the Commonwealth Budget for 2002-03 appropriately projects a return of the underlying cash balance to a small surplus, with larger budget surpluses being projected over the medium term.

The "special topic" in this year's Survey is on "The Economic Impact of Migration in Australia." It finds that Australia's immigration policy has delivered economic benefits in part because of its emphasis on skills and its successful approach to integration.

It notes that economic integration of immigrants occurs relatively quickly in Australia and that the points selection system for skilled immigrants succeeds in fostering their integration.

The Government welcomes the 2003 OECD Economic Survey of Australia and the contribution it makes to debate on Australia's economic policy challenges.

CANBERRA
3 March 2003

Contact: David Alexander
Phone: (02) 6277 7340

3 Mar 2003

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