Grattan Institute

Grattan Institute aspires to contribute to public policy in Australia as a liberal democracy in a globalised economy. Our work is objective, evidence-driven and non-aligned. We foster informed public debate on the key issues for Australia through both public events and private forums engaging key decision makers and the broader community. Twitter: @GrattanInst


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University fee increases in Australia and the UK haven’t deterred students from poorer backgrounds from attending university in the past. AAP

Fees and higher education: does social class make a difference?

In contemporary Australia, post-school education is necessary for most well-paid jobs. And so who gets access to education is important. University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis echoed many people’s…
The federal budget has shifted costs rather than controlling them. Quentin Jones/AAP

Budget takes hospital funding arrangement back to the future

It was only seven years ago, but it seems like a lifetime; then-opposition leader Kevin Rudd was promising to end the “blame game” in health-care funding. Fast forward a few years, he’d received a report…
Infrastructure Australia does not rate even one of the budget’s newly funded projects as ‘ready to proceed’ or ‘on the threshold’. Dean Lewins/AAP

Changes help the budget but not the economy

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first budget creates a clear path almost to a surplus. Our children will pay much less for current spending. Real political courage was required to get this far. But the budget also…
The budget has introduced a $7 co-payment for visits to the general practitioners. Dave Hunt/AAP

Federal budget 2014: health experts react

The Abbott government has announced a A$20 billion medical research “future fund”, to help discover what Treasurer Joe Hockey calls the “cures of the future”, paid for with money generated as a result…
Tony Abbott wants to be known as the ‘infrastructure prime minister’. David Crosling/AAP

Infrastructure spending to blame for budget shortfalls

The “massive infrastructure gap” prime minister Tony Abbott has set out to fix does not exist, according to new analysis…
Commission chair Tony Shepherd has missed an opportunity to spark a genuine budget reform conversation. Lukas Coch/AAP

Commission of Audit fails to consider costs and benefits

There are some good ideas in the Commission of Audit report. Unfortunately they’re buried in so much else that it’s hard to find them. For a report focused on the costs and benefits of government, it shows…
For general patients, the minimum co-payment would be A$15. Shutterstock

GP co-payments: a triple fail for the Commission of Audit

The Commission of Audit’s proposals about GP co-payments are just that, proposals. They are not government policy, nor should they be. Some aspects of the Commission’s recommendations are good. But the…
The Commission report recommends private health insurers take on a greater role in Australia’s health system. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Commission of Audit’s health hit list: experts respond

The National Commission of Audit has made 86 recommendations with a focus on the federal government’s 15 biggest and fastest-growing areas of spending. Health is near the top of the list, with the Commission…
ANU Vice-Chancellor Ian Young and Chancellor Gareth Evans have called for student contributions to be deregulated so they can charge students higher fees to attend university. ANU

Enough muddling through: higher education needs a shake-up

And so the university fees debate starts again. Over the last few days, several university leaders have come out in favour of increasing fees to fund a better higher education system. A government commitment…
It passes the ‘milk bar test’ but once you look behind it, big risks emerge. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Save now, spend later: why co-payments for GP visits are a bad idea

Like a movie zombie, a policy idea that should have died has arisen from the dead and is likely to feature as a cost-savings measure in next month’s budget. The idea is simple: most GP patients should…
With the right training and supervision, assistants could safely take on 15% of nurses’ workloads. John Keith/Shutterstock

Hospital workforce reform: better jobs and more care

Employees are the public hospital system’s most valuable resource, and its biggest cost. Wages account for nearly 70% of recurrent hospital spending. To keep hospital care affordable in a time of rising…
The idea of adding student income support to their HELP debt has been floated, but student debt is already high. Shutterstock

Student debt costs are an obstacle to new student loans

A Grattan Institute report I co-authored highlights student debt costs, with the finding that the government could save $800 million a year by retrieving unpaid debts from deceased estates and students…
Most innovations form in a network, with a mixture of local and global ingredients. Image sourced from

Four ways to boost Australian innovation

From the days of the gold rushes, to the banking and mining booms of the last 15 years, Australians have long worried that most of the world’s innovation was happening somewhere else. Did our good fortune…
The cost of operations varies from hospital to hospital but a higher price doesn’t equal better care. TheTun/Shutterstock

Public hospital efficiency gains could save $1 billion a year

Public hospital spending has been the single fastest-growing area of government spending over the past decade. As governments, policymakers and economists put health spending under the microscope, it’s…
Pharmacists’ skills go well beyond dispensing drugs but a one-off check would do little to achieve integrated care. Image from

Should pharmacists get $50 to give you a health check?

The Pharmacy Guild has proposed a scheme that would see the Commonwealth government pay pharmacists A$50 to provide one-off health checks. Pharmacists checks would assess patients’ body mass index, blood…
Government spending is already targeted toward poorer households. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Making the rich pay more isn’t the answer to a better Medicare

Should the rich pay more for their health care? This question has raised its ugly head again after health minister Peter Dutton announced the Coalition government was considering more user-pays options…
Alcoa is to close its Point Henry smelter in Geelong. AAP

Australian aluminium outgunned by cheap, coal-free global rivals

Alcoa’s decision to close the Point Henry smelter, at a cost of almost 1000 jobs in Geelong and elsewhere, comes amid a perfect storm buffeting Australia’s aluminium industry. Point Henry will be the second…
Big announcements aren’t the answer – the health system needs a long-term plan. AAP Image/Quentin Jones

Mr Abbott, make 2014 a year of health reform, not regression

This year is crunch time for Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s health policies. The financing and policy changes from the Rudd-Gillard government are finally taking effect and the National Commission of Audit…

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