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Australia Becomes The World’s 12th Largest Economy

Australia has becomes the world’s 12th largest economy, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund.

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said this is a remarkable achievement for a country with the world’s 51st largest population.

Over the past five years, Australia has moved up three places from the 15th largest economy to the 12th, surpassing South Korea, Mexico and Spain.

Media release from Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Today’s release of the IMF’s October 2012 World Economic Outlook shows that Australia is now the world’s 12th largest economy and has leapfrogged three places ahead under the Labor Government, after slipping back three places under the previous government.

As a country with the world’s 51st largest population, this is a remarkable achievement, and demonstrates the Australian community’s hard work and resilience, as well as the Government’s sound economic management, during a time of global economic upheaval.

Based on Gross Domestic Product at market exchange rates, since the Government came to office, Australia has moved up three places from 15th largest economy to now be the 12th largest economy in the world.

This reverses a decline under the previous Government, which saw Australia fall from 12th largest economy in 1996 to 15th in 2007.

Since 2007, Australia’s economy has surpassed the economies of South Korea, Mexico and now Spain.

These are three very different economies from three very different parts of the world, further highlighting the exceptional performance of our economy.

While Spain has made a number of tough decisions over a number of years to try to put its economy back on track, it is currently enduring the economic and human impacts of a deep recession, including unemployment rates of around 25 per cent.

Through targeted measures to support our economy in the face of the worst global recession in 80 years, and keep the doors of Australian businesses open, Australia was able to avoid the destruction of capacity in our economy that comes with a recession, in particular the human cost of high and long term unemployment.

Australia’s impressive performance is also the result of decades of reforms such as floating the dollar, bringing down the tariff wall, abolishing centralised wage fixing, and introducing compulsory superannuation.

The Gillard Government is building on this legacy of hard but necessary reforms – in the face of a stridently anti-reformist Opposition – with measures like pricing carbon pollution, reforming mining taxation to provide support to businesses not in the fast-lane of the economy, huge investments in skills and training widely welcomed by the business community, and historic investments in productivity-boosting infrastructure such as the NBN.

The Australian economy has now recorded 21 consecutive years of growth, a record unmatched by any other advanced economy over this period.

We have the enviable combination of solid growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, sound public finances and a large investment pipeline that is delivering greater economic capacity and export volumes.

Clearly there are challenges in parts of the economy, including the high Australian dollar and the continuing impact of global headwinds, however this historic milestone in Australia’s economic growth story is something all Australians can be proud of.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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