'No plan for economy, just slogans': Opposition concerned about negative growth

The latest national accounts are disappointing and highlight the fact the coalition government doesn't have a plan, just a "jobs and growth" slogan, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says.

The accounts showed the economy contracted by 0.5 per cent in the September quarter, its first decline since March 2011 and dragged the annual rate down to 1.8 per cent.

"It is true that quarterly figures do bounce around and we would hope and trust that next quarter's figures are much stronger after this very low base, but the fact of the matter is that this is a deeply concerning result," Mr Bowen told reporters in Sydney.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says the government only has a slogan for 'jobs and growth'. Source: AAP

The shadow treasurer's comments after his government counterpart, Treasurer Scott Morrison, said the slump in the national accounts was due to a lack of support of the government's economic plan.

The figures are not just a reminder or a wake-up call about being complacent, but rather a "demand to support economic policies that drive the investment needed to support job security", Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the economic woes are Labor's fault for not passing their agenda. Source: AAP

* Is the Australian economy going backwards?

Long gone are the days when the Australia economy was touted as the "envy of the world".

Wednesday's announcement showed the national accounts had contracted for only the fourth time in 25 years.

Those negative quarters came during episodes of upheaval, including Cyclone Yasi and the 2011 Queensland floods, the GFC in 2008 and the introduction of the GST in 2000.

Don't point the finger at us: Chris Bowen says the government has no economic plan. Source: AAP

Mr Morrison put the onus on Labor for the dismal numbers, calling on the opposition to support the government's plans for a $50 billion business in tax cuts.

Mr Bowen fired back, saying the opposition was not to blame for the government's ills.

The tired, lackluster economy could only come as more bad news for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Source: AAP

Neither side is willing to suggest the economy is in recession, let alone mention the word.

A technical recession requires two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

News break – December 8