House of Representatives Committees

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Preliminary Pages

Chair’s foreword

Australia continues to experience favourable conditions for future growth, economic stability and monetary policy. As the Committee has heard from the Reserve Bank, Australia enjoys extraordinarily good economic conditions, across a range of key areas.

The Australian economy demonstrated resilience through its swift recovery from the effects of various natural disasters early in the year, such as Cyclone Yasi and the Queensland floods. Though production recovered more slowly than first expected, the Reserve Bank’s expectations about the limited and temporary effects of the disasters on domestic prices has been vindicated.

Our terms of trade remain at an all high time high, and unemployment remains low by historical standards. Inflation remains within the parameters of the long-established policy of inflation targeting and looks set to remain under control for the foreseeable future. In contrast to many leading economies, our banking sector is sound and does not pose concerns about liquidity, solvency and the reliability of the credit system that plague some international markets.

The soundness and strength of our national situation is evident from the international recognition it receives: our sovereign credit position is in the topmost tier of the international market. However, the retail sector is under pressure because of increased caution by Australian consumers. This caution underpins the financial resilience of household balance sheets and marks a return to higher rates of savings.

While there are concerns about the broader global economic outlook, it is undeniable that the Australian economy is in a strong condition to meet the challenges ahead.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mr Glenn Stevens, and other representatives of the RBA for appearing at the hearing on 26 August 2011.

Julie Owens MP


Membership of the Committee



Ms Julie Owens MP (from 24 August 2011) Mr Craig Thomson MP (until 23 August 2011)


Deputy Chair

Ms Kelly O'Dwyer MP (from 12 September 2011)

Mr Steven Ciobo MP (until 11 September 2011)




Mr Scott Buchholz MP



Mr Steve Ciobo MP (until 13 September 2011)



Mr Stephen Jones MP



Dr Andrew Leigh MP



Mr Tony Smith MP (from 13 September 2011)



Mr Craig Thomson MP



Supplementary Member

Mr Adam Bandt MP



Committee Secretariat



Mr Stephen Boyd

Inquiry Secretary

Mr David Monk

Research Officer

Dr Phillip Hilton

Administrative Officer

Ms Natasha Petrović

Terms of reference


The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics is empowered to inquire into, and report on the annual reports of government departments and authorities tabled in the House that stand referred to the committee for any inquiry the committee may wish to make. The reports stand referred in accordance with the schedule tabled by the Speaker to record the areas of responsibility of the committee.


List of abbreviations



Consumer Price Index


Gross Domestic Product


International Monetary Fund


Reserve Bank of Australia



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