Treasurer warns Australians over living standards as economy slows


CANBERRA, Australia–Australia’s treasurer warned on Thursday that Australians’ living standards could fall as the economy slows and a hostile Senate keeps blocking key budget legislation.

Government figures released on Wednesday showed that tumbling prices for Australia’s biggest exports �X coal and iron ore �X plus stagnate wages slowed economic growth to a lower-than-expected 0.3 percent for the September quarter. Growth for the year through September was 2.7 percent.

Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, a leading business group, said the data suggested the economy was weaker than many commentators and policy-makers had been willing to acknowledge.

The economy grew by 0.5 percent in the June quarter and 3.1 percent for the year through June. That was down from 3.5 percent for the year through March.

A mining boom fed by Chinese industrial demand helped Australia scrape through the global financial crisis without dipping into recession.