Politics Analysis

Morrison Government notches up 40 'worst on record' economic outcomes

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Cartoon by Mark David/@markdavidcartoons

Recent economic data brings the tally of failures in economic management by Prime Minister Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg to 40, as Alan Austin documents.

WORLD BANK DATA shows the value of manufacturing in Australia as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) was 13.83% when that dataset began in 1990. It stayed above 12% until 1999, when a decline began.

This fell to an all-time low of 5.64% in 2019, six years after the Coalition was elected on promises to 're-invigorate manufacturing industry'. The 2020 level was 5.72%, the second-lowest ever.

The Australian Sovereign Capability Alliance reports that Australia now has the lowest manufacturing self-sufficiency of any country in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

This brings to an even forty the outcomes under the current federal Government which are “worst ever” or “worst for a very long time”.

The first ten are listed here, with links to the raw data. The second ten are here and the third ten here.

The collapse in manufacturing was number 40. The dismal count continues.

Worst collapse in total construction since records began

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows the long-term upwards slope of construction volumes in Australia dramatically reversed in 2015. For the first time since records began in 1974, total construction has fallen for six out of the last seven years. This is almost certainly the only time this has happened since Captain Arthur Phillip built the first colonial houses in 1788. 

Construction 30 years F.jpg

Lowest investment in social housing on record

Of all prime ministers over the last 30 years, Malcolm Turnbull and ScottMorrison have been by far the worst in building affordable houses for low income Australians. As we saw recently, this is based on ABS home starts and population data.

AA Public housing by PM 1992 to 2021 F.jpg

Worst collapse in investment in port infrastructure on record

The OECD tracks spending over time on transport infrastructure, including rail, roads, inland waterways and ports. Investment in all of these has declined substantially under the Coalition since 2013, despite urgent needs and despite vast borrowings.

The pink chart, below, shows port investment in 2018 was just 0.048% of GDP, a miserable one tenth of the 0.48% allocated in 2012.

Port infrastructure Nov 21 Final.jpg

Worst inflation ranking on record

Through the last financial year, Australia’s 3.85% inflation hike ranked 31st among the 38 developed OECD countries. That is Australia’s lowest ranking ever. During the Keating years, Australia ranked first.

Lowest share of national income going to workers

Quarterly accounts from the ABS show the share of gross national income going to workers hit an all-time low of 49% in June last year. This has been below 51.5% for the last five quarters. The last time that happened was in 1964.