Labor blasts economic 'triple whammy'

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

Labor has come out swinging against a "triple whammy" of weaker wages, lower spending and depleted household savings in the latest economic figures.

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said the national accounts data exposed a federal government "too divided and too distracted" to focus on the things that matter.

"The Morrison government has dropped the ball on the economy. That's why we have slowing growth," Mr Chalmers told reporters on Thursday.

"We've got a slowing economy, weak wages, weak savings, weak spending, and that's because we have a desperately divided and dysfunctional Morrison LNP government here in Canberra."

Official figures released on Wednesday revealed the economy was slowing much more rapidly than expected after a growth spurt earlier this year.

Growth slowed to 0.3 per cent in the September quarter, and to 2.8 per cent over the year to September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed.

That missed market expectations of 0.6 per cent growth for the quarter and 3.3 per cent growth for the year.

Household consumption and construction were both much softer than expected.

But Treasurer Josh Frybenberg said it was ridiculous to suggest the Australian economy was not strong.

"At 2.8 per cent the Australian economy is growing faster than any G7 nation except the United States. We're growing faster than the OECD average," he told ABC radio.

"This is a very strong story. Only the Labor Party are trying to poke holes in these national accounts."

Consumer spending has fallen to a five-year low, primarily due to a lack of wages growth.

The figures seemed to suggest people were dipping further into their savings just to stay afloat.

But the treasurer sees the trend in a different way.

"People feel confident to spend," Mr Frydenberg said.

Australian Associated Press