Julia Gillard has urged corporate Australia to talk up the health of the economy to help restore shattered consumer confidence and get people spending.
Opening her two-day economic forum in Brisbane last night, the Prime Minister said she would counsel other countries against austerity measures as the answer to global economic turmoil.
But the magnitude of the challenge she set business was highlighted before her speech in a new National Australia Bank survey which found business conditions were at their weakest in three years. It found business confidence plunged in May despite the Reserve Bank's 0.5 percentage point rate cut after a poorly received Federal Budget and concerns about the eurozone and wider global growth.
The survey was before last's week 0.25 percentage point rate cut, strong jobs data and better than expected economic growth figures.
Ms Gillard said those who knew the strength of the Australian economy had to speak up.
"There is strength and the facts of our economic performance support a pragmatic, soundly based, long-term confidence in our country and in its future," she said.