Much of Australia's growth had been attributed to the government's $63.2bn in stimulus spending as well as ongoing demand for its raw materials from Asia, particularly China.

Most other developed economies shrank last year, with the US contracting by 2.4 per cent and Germany and Japan shedding five per cent.

'Exceptional outcome'

"This is an exceptional outcome in what has been a devastating year for the global economy," Swan told reporters on Wednesday.

"During the worst global financial and economic crisis in 75 years, when most advanced economies contracted, the Australian economy not only continued to grow, but grew solidly."

Swan also voiced confidence that Australia is set for prosperous economic times, after central bank officials predicted years, if not decades, of growth as Asian giants China and India continue to urbanise and industrialise.

"The fact that our economy grew in every single quarter of 2009, while other advanced economies contracted sharply, is a tribute to all those Australians who got in behind the stimulus," he said.

The annual result also beat analyst forecasts of 2.3 per cent, while the quarterly figure follows the September quarter's adjusted 0.3 per cent growth and 0.6 per cent growth in the three months to June.