Morrison met premiers to talk roads, rail

Scott Morrison has met with state leaders individually to urge them to nominate infrastructure projects that could be brought forward to help kick along a sluggish economy.

“One of the first things I did after the election was sit down with all the premiers one-on-one and we worked through the entire infrastructure schedule with them,” the prime minister told 5AA radio on Thursday.

The latest national accounts figures, released on Wednesday, showed the economy grew by a mere 0.5 per cent in the June quarter and 1.4 per cent over the year.

But the government insists the overall picture is rosier, asking critics to wait until the effects of the post-election tax cuts wash through the system.

“We’ll see what happens in the September quarter and that’ll play into what happens in our mid-year economic statement at the end of the year,” Mr Morrison said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says the economic measures are showing weaker growth than during the global financial crisis, when the then-Labor government steered Australia to avoid recession.

He said Wednesday’s figures couldn’t be explained as a typical election-time quarter of low growth.

“What we have is not just lower economic growth – being downgraded, and then not even meeting the downgraded forecast,” he told Sky News.

“We’ve got retail spending at levels of the 1990s … We’ve seen productivity going backwards for four quarters in a row. We’ve got stagnant wages. We’ve got interest rates at one per cent.”

The opposition has been calling on the government to speed up its timetable of infrastructure projects, amid other stimulus measures.

Mr Morrison said the government’s ‘Plan A’ was what it laid out in the May budget and took to the election, including a significant boost to building projects.

“In that budget in May it wasn’t just the tax cuts, it was investments in additional skills development, we upped the infrastructure spend by about $25 billion and brought spending forward into the forward estimates,” he said.

“So much so that we’ve now got price pressure within the civic construction area because of the amount of work that we’re pushing through the system on infrastructure.

“We’ll continue to monitor this closely, but we have a plan; we’re putting it in place.”


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