Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout says the economy needs "active management" to tide over the slowing down of the mining sector and the impact of the strong Australian dollar, a day after subdued inflation paved the way for further cuts to the cash rate.
Ms Ridout, who recently retired as the chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, told Dow Jones Newswires that in the face of "persistent" challenges to the economy, Australia "can't just sit back and wait for growth to be put in our lap", The Australian reported.
She hailed the strengthening global economy, but said growth in the non-mining sectors in Australia was "very tough with the dollar remaining so persistently high".
"You're seeing reasonably positive results out of China. But the big challenge for us is to be able to achieve a diversified growth model and that's the big challenge for economic policy over the next 12 months."
Ms Ridout's comments came as the International Monetary Fund lowered its projection of global growth by 0.1 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year, and increase from 3.2 per cent for 2012.
"Downside risks remain significant, including prolonged stagnation in the euro area and excessive short-term fiscal tightening in the United States," the International Monetary Fund said in an economic outlook update overnight.
The fund's chief economist Olivier Blanchard said the growth numbers would not improve the unemployment rate in advanced economies.
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said in response to the IMF outlook that Australia's economic fundamentals would keep the country in a strong position despite ongoing global uncertainty.
The US House of Representatives voted to suspend the debt ceiling for three months, removing a major uncertainty overhanging markets and buying time for budget negotiations looming in February.
On Wednesday, data from the Bureau of Statistics showed that the consumer price index, a measure of prices paid by consumers for commonly bought items, rose 0.2 per cent for the quarter and 2.2 per cent for the year, at the lower end of the Reserve Bank's annual target band, and slightly below economists' expectations.
Significantly, the Bureau of Statistics figures show wages growth outpacing inflation, with private sector wages in the year to the third quarter of 2012 rising 3.7 per cent - an increase tipped to fuel concerns over the nation's rate of productivity.
ANZ senior economist Riki Polygenis said despite the subdued rate of inflation, she did not expect the Reserve Bank to cut rates at its next meeting as "inflation has taken somewhat of a back seat to other concerns about economic activity at the moment".
"We think the more critical releases for the RBA will be the [capital expenditure] expectations for 2014 and the next labour force report, both due after the RBA meeting in February."
Financial markets' expectations of an interest rate cut in February stood at 39 per cent, Credit Suisse data showed. The market has priced in another 50 basis points of rate cuts for 2013, taking the cash rate to 2.5 per cent.