Lowe seeks fiscal help

Ian Rogers Finance regulation

If you accept the argument that a sustainably lower rate of unemployment in Australia is achievable, the question that we should all be thinking about is: how do we get there? Phillip Lowe asked this  question last night.

“It is possible that the current policy settings will be enough – that we just need to be patient. But it is also possible that the current policy settings will leave us short. Given this, the possibility of lower interest rates remains on the table. Monetary policy does have an important role to play and we have the capacity to play that role if needed.

“In saying that, I also want to recognise that monetary policy is not the only option. There are certain downsides from relying just on monetary policy and there are limitations on what, realistically, can be achieved. So, as a country, we should also be looking at other options to reduce unemployment.

“One option is for fiscal support, including through spending on infrastructure. This spending not only adds to demand in the economy, but it also adds to the economy's productive capacity. So it works on both the demand and supply side.”

Helping Scott Morrison set up his new government, Lowe cheered other measures.

“Another option is structural policies that support firms expanding, investing, innovating and employing people,” he said.

On song with the government, Lowe declared that “from my perspective, the best option is the third one – structural policies that support firms expanding, investing, innovating and employing people. A strong dynamic business sector is the best way of creating jobs.

“Structural policies not only help with job creation, but they can also help drive the productivity growth that is the main source of improvement in our living standards. So, as a country, it is important that we keep focused on this.”