Australia at crossroads as China boom ends



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Friday 12 July 2013

Last update 12 July 2013 2:15 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the China resources boom was over, leaving the economy at a crossroads, as he called for a new productivity pact to boost competitiveness.
In his first major policy speech since ousting Julia Gillard as leader, Rudd also urged a sharper engagement with Asia, particularly Indonesia, to help smooth the nation’s economic transition from its reliance on commodities.
“If we make the wrong decisions now, we will be living with those decisions for the decade ahead,” he said.
“The truth is, in 2013, the China resources boom is over. While the export of resource and commodity volumes are up, the prices we receive for them have now fallen almost 25 percent since their peak and may well fall further. Right now, we find ourselves at a crossover point for our national economy.”
Rudd’s comments came as Australia’s jobless rate jumped to 5.7 percent in June, its highest level in almost four years, as the mining-driven economy begins a tough diversification drive to other sources of growth.
The economy grew at a slower-than-expected rate in the first three months of the year, expanding 0.6 percent on quarter and 2.5 percent on year suggesting the decade-long mining investment boom was unwinding
“Managing this economic transition is now a core task of Australian economic policy,” said Rudd.
“Critical for jobs. Critical for infrastructure.”
He said lifting national productivity was a key priority, calling for better cooperation between business, unions and government so everyone was “pushing in the same strategic policy direction.”
“The core of this new national competitiveness agenda must be a common agreement to lift the rate of annual productivity growth from its existing level of 1.6 percent to two percent or better,” he said.
Since becoming prime minister a fortnight ago, Rudd has met four times with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Business Council of Australia to enlist their support for closer cooperation.
Agenda items included rising energy prices, rigidities in the labor market, business productivity, red tape, education, skills and training, infrastructure and small business.
Rudd said greater business engagement with Asia outside of the resources and energy sector was also necessary to help the economy cope.
“The truth is Australia is much under-done in Asia beyond the resource and energy sector,” he said.
“Indonesia is a classic example — an economy which by 2050 is on track to become the fourth largest economy in the world after China, India and the US. But at present, Indonesia does not fall within our top 10 trading partners or our top 20 investment destinations.”
Rudd had invited Tony Abbott to join him at the National Press Club, where he made his speech, to debate the economic future of Australia, but the conservative opposition leader declined.
The prime minister said Abbott was scared of “the public scrutiny of an economic policy debate” and branded him “Captain Negative,” suggesting he routinely talked down the economy.
Abbott, who remains the narrow favorite to win national elections later this year, responded by accusing Rudd of being all talk and no concrete policy.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Rudd has no specific announcements to make. All he can talk about is process, not change,” he said of his opponent’s speech.
’He had a plan to destroy a prime minister but doesn’t have a plan for the country,” he added, referring to Rudd’s unseating of Gillard in a Labour Party coup recently.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A Saudi citizen was killed in shelling fired across the border from Yemen into the southwest of Saudi Arabia on Sunday, local media reported.A shell fell on a house around dawn in Najran province, civil defense department spokesman Ali bin Om...
JEDDAH: Female voters in Al-Ahsa have urged the authorities handling the municipal elections to drop the condition of presenting the national identity card while enrolling themselves in the voters’ list. Some women in Madinah too have appealed for mo...
JEDDAH: After the recent incident of a rat eating from a bowl at a well-known food outlet in a Jeddah mall came to light, residents have called for food hygiene ratings of restaurants and roadside eateries across the city.Although the municipality wo...
JEDDAH: A muezzin (one who recites the Adhaan) of a Riyadh mosque recently sprung a surprise in the Austrian tourist town of Zell am See by his Adhaan after taking permission from members of a musical band.Social media is abuzz with the news and vide...
RIYADH: A Sri Lankan national, who works as a cleaner in the Kingdom, was commended and rewarded by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) for returning a bag containing gold to its owner.“Prince Sultan bin Salman, president o...
RIYADH: Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Shahriar Alam arrived in Jeddah on Sunday to meet with his Saudi counterpart Nizar Madani on Monday.On arrival at the royal terminal, the minister was received by Director General of the...
RIYADH: A report of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage predicts the rate of growth in job opportunities in the country's tourism sector between 2010 and 2020 will be 10 percent a year as compared to a global growth rate of 2.5 per...
JEDDAH: Two million meningitis vaccines have been distributed among health centers in 20 governorates and provinces across the Kingdom for domestic Haj pilgrims.It is mandatory for all pilgrims to be vaccinated against meningitis and for those coming...
RIYADH: Some 1,500 certified documents with proper identity are issued on average to Yemenis from the Jazan region daily. More than 400,000 Yemenis have corrected their residency status from all parts of the Kingdom.The announcement was made during a...
JEDDAH: The Makkah governorate has announced four new road projects linking Makkah and Jeddah. The new roads will facilitate smoother and faster travel between the cities.An estimated 35 million people will benefit from the projects, which will inclu...
JEDDAH: A major disaster is waiting to happen in the fish market of Madinah because of the callous attitude of traders toward handling of gas cylinders. A visit to the market presents a dreadful picture of cylinders kept on top of each other without...
JEDDAH: Information and Culture Minister Adel Al-Toraifi has approved the appointment of Khalid Bo-Ali as editor in chief of the Eastern Province-based Alsharq Arabic newspaper. He was nominated for the post by the board of directors of the newspaper...
JEDDAH: Jamil Farsi, head of the Gold and Jewelry Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), says he expects 3,000 job opportunities to be created for Saudi women in the jewelry design and gold sector across the Kingdom, with ab...
JEDDAH: More than 50 visually challenged people successfully performed Umrah with the help of the Ebsar Foundation for the Visually Impaired and the Ambassadors of Volunteers organization under their program “Umrah for the visually impaired,” which w...
JEDDAH: Although the Ministry of Labor is opening its doors to receive complaints from private sector employees, many Saudi females employed in cosmetic and perfume shops in Madinah are not making complaints about being overworked due to fear of losi...

Stay Connected

Facebook