Economy likely to become more of an issue in Australia

by Ray Clancy on September 11, 2013

in Australia

While Australians continue to cite healthcare as the single biggest issue facing the nation, its distinction as the clear front runner has declined in recent months, as anxieties around key economic issues are increasing.

The latest regular poll from Ipsos shows that concerns regarding the economy, the cost of living and unemployment have made their way into the top five issues facing the nation for the first time.

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Concerns regarding the economy, the cost of living and unemployment have made their way into the top five issues facing the nation for the first time.

In late 2010, one out of every two Australians selected at least one of these as a top issue. But last month two out of every three Australians did so.

Historically, these economic issues have been important to different cohorts for different reasons, says the Ipsos report. The cost of living continues to be the most important issue for younger Australians aged under 50 and of considerably less significance to those aged over 50.

The economy is typically a concern for the superannuation generation, those aged 50 and over, and unemployment which is historically an issue of greater concern for younger people is now of concern for more people including those in the twilight of their careers.

New Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that his conservative administration will move quickly to cut taxes and take action to boost the slowing economy. He has also confirmed that he will scrap an unpopular tax on carbon emissions and curb the rising tide of asylum seekers.

‘There is border security, there’s economic security, and the people expect quite rightly that the incoming government will build a strong and prosperous economy. A very early item of business is scrapping the carbon tax,’ Abbott said in a statement.

He has also pledged to spend billions on constructing new roads to stimulate growth and to dispose of the mining tax, a levy first introduced to curb the profits of some iron ore and coal producers.

Although the Australian economy is slowing, it is not as gloomy as some commentators make out; as shown by better than forecast growth numbers for the April to June quarter, boosted by gains in consumer spending.

Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 2.6% during the quarter, from a year earlier and compared with the previous quarter, growth was 0.6%. Most forecasts were for an annual growth closer to 2.5%.

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