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(Australian Associated Press)
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed Australia is now in a recession after 29 consecutive years of economic growth.
The Australian economy shrank 0.3 per cent in the March quarter amid bushfires and the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
The economic shock will be much worse in the current June quarter, when the full impact of virus-related shutdowns occurred.
Mr Frydenberg is not waiting for those figures to come out before confirming Australia is in a recession.
“Well, the answer to that is yes,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
“And that is on the basis of the advice that I have from the Treasury Department about where the June quarter is expected to be.”
A recession in generally defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
The last time Australia experienced a recession was in 1991.
“This long run of growth was created by Hawke and Keating, defended by Rudd and Swan, and it ends under Morrison and Frydenberg,” shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers told reporters in Brisbane.
“Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been sacrificed to the first recession in 29 years.”
Mr Frydenberg had pledged the first federal budget surplus in 12 years, but an update in July and the next budget in October are expected to confirm deep deficits.