CANBERRA, AAP – Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese believes eight years of wage suppression under a federal coalition government has stifled economic growth.

Addressing a Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference on Thursday, Mr Albanese said workers are $254 a week worse off under a Liberal-Nationals government.

“It’s a race being run in the wrong direction,” the Labor leader said.

He said not only are suppressed wages stifling economic growth, workers are also losing out as the Morrison government fails to act on wage theft.

“And when families go without, businesses go without,” he said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg addressed conference delegates on Wednesday night, saying Australia has dodged a bullet from the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of health outcomes and the strength of the recovery from last year’s recession.

But he has warned Australians they are going to have to learn to live with the virus until its impact can be mitigated through the rollout of the vaccine to as wide a number of people as quickly as possible.

“I think COVID is going to be with us for some time to come,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“I do think the economy will look different on the other side of COVID.”

He said there had been a rapid adoption of technology during this crisis and that was changing the way Australians worked, the way they communicated and the way they shopped.

Even so, the economy had performed incredibly well.

“Our economy today is is bigger than it was going into the pandemic,” he said.

“We shouldn’t gloss over the fact that Australia has outperformed the rest of the world.”

In particular, the labour market had recovered faster than even the most optimistic expectations of both the Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Meanwhile, the federal parliament passed legislation on Wednesday to set up a new independent body to regularly review and report on the effectiveness and capability of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

The Financial Regulator Assessment Authority could be considered a watchdog of the watchdogs, and is being set up in response to one the recommendations of the banking royal commission.

“The Morrison government’s legislation ensures Australia’s financial regulators will continue to be strong and effective, maintaining the community’s trust and confidence in the financial system,” Mr Frydenberg said in a statement.