“Avoiding recession will be difficult,” says Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen. A recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth; Australia’s first occurred in the last quarter of 2008 and this quarter is set to follow suit, he believes.
“We haven’t gone there but… we are seeing, a slowdown,” Bowen admitted. “We have said all along this [global financial] crisis will wash over Australia. It will have an impact, but our job is to make the impact as small as we possibly can.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan have avoided the word ‘recession’ in their public assessment of the Australian economy, which makes Bowen’s admission the first such description from a senior government official.