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Analysis and Comment (28)

Means-testing the child care rebate means some families are paying twice since their taxes already support education. Shutterstock

Means-testing child-care rebate means families are paying twice

Recent media reports suggest that the Productivity Commission into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning will recommend that the simplified single-payment child-care rebate is means-tested. This is not…
Treasurer Joe Hockey plans to reignite the economic reform debate early next year, but will he tackle the bigger-picture changes many economists have called for? AAP Image/Lukas Coch

The economic crisis a complacent Australia has to have

In November 1990, then treasurer Paul Keating announced that Australia was in recession – and that it was “the recession we had to have”. Today, there are growing calls for serious, structural economic…
The Productivity Commission report reflect the limits set by Tony Abbott when he announced terms of reference focused on economic benefit. AAP/Alan Porritt

PC logic: let the market solve childcare market failure

The Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning shows the serious limitations of market economics for analysing social policy. The report’s 900-plus pages offer a collection…
The Productivity Commission contains many positive measures for Early Childhood Learning, but are they implementable? AAP

Good results for early learning, but the devil is in the detail

The recommendations of the Productivity Commission into Childcare and Early Learning appear to be a win for early childhood learning. However, as with many reports such as this, the devil is in the detail…
The government’s announcement that the age of entitlement is over may be a poisoned chalice for the Productivity Commission. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Productivity Commission’s myopic failure on industry assistance

Every year the Productivity Commission (PC) produces an annual report card on Australian government assistance to industry. And every year it singles out the “usual suspects” for attention, particularly…
Australia’s next crisis: productivity. But wait, it’s a slippery topic. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Why we should approach claims of a productivity crisis with caution

This week the Productivity Commission released its second Productivity Update. The Productivity Report reviews Australia’s “productivity performance” over the last year. It disaggregates the statistics…
We should continue to agitate for fairer, cheaper and more just legal systems, after a Productivity Commission draft report noted the difficulties for many in accessing justice. AAP/Dave Hunt

‘Slow, expensive, complicated’ legal system must be improved

Half of all Australians will experience a legal problem this year. Most won’t get legal assistance or come into contact with our courts or other legal institutions. In part, this is because Australia’s…
The link between manufacturing cars and developing technology has been fundamental in Australia. AAP

Losing the car industry means we risk our technology

As I’ve argued before and it’s generally accepted, the car industry is a critical part of Australia’s science and technology base. The sector spends A$600 million a year on R&D and another $800 million…
Toyota has surprised with an announcement it would finish manufacturing cars here at the end of 2017. AAP

Toyota names 2017 end, Australian car making to cease: experts react

Toyota has confirmed it will cease its vehicle and engine production in Australia by the end of 2017, signalling the end of automotive manufacturing in Australia. The announcement follows decisions by…
The Productivity Commission has recommended the car industry should receive no additional government funding. AAP

No sacred cows: Productivity Commission targets Toyota

Ford and Holden gone. SPC Ardmona in jeopardy. Toyota under threat. The Productivity Commission’s (PC) position paper on automotive industry support fires a clear shot across the bows of the manufacturing…
What’s wrong with the policy picture? Private childcare operators' priorities are driven by profits, not social needs. AAP/Joe Castro

Failed market assumptions are undermining care for our children

Can the Productivity Commission review commissioned by the Abbott government recognise the possible failure of the market-model funding of many early childhood services? This rather broad term now covers…
Holden boss Mike Devereux says the car maker has made no decision on its future. AAP

Holden is one piece in GM’s global restructuring puzzle

In the wake of the global financial crisis, Holden’s parent company, General Motors was placed on life support. Its fortunes collapsed along with the US economy, leading the United States government to…
Countries relying on private health insurance, such as the United States, pay far more for health care. Kate Ter Haar

Six reasons why Australia needs a single national health insurer

We have come to see private health insurance as an essential part of the national health funding mix, but it’s actually quite a costly way to fund health care. A well-designed system with a single national…
Holden may shut up shop in Australia, and the government is already considering the fallout. Lukas Coch/AAP

Adding up the flow-on effects of a Holden closure

The idea of further government support for the ailing automotive industry (AKA the Holden problem) generates considerable political and economic debate. For economists and business academics, it comes…
Treasurer Joe Hockey admits the government’s ‘open for business’ promise must be followed up with action. Alan Porritt/AAP

Abbott’s ‘open for business’ honeymoon is over

From a three-and-a-half year high last month, business confidence data for October shows the post-election honeymoon is over, with business conditions continuing to underperform in non-mining sectors…
There’s no evidence to back up the claim the Australian Government has become too large. nicsuzor/Flickr

The Commission of Audit’s first job should be to kill itself off

A supposition behind the Commonwealth’s Commission of Audit is that government has become “too large”. The first paragraph of the Commission’s terms of reference sets the context, stating: During this…
Gambling tax reform should be a part of a gambling harm minimisation tax package.

Why tax reform can help reduce problem gambling

Gambling provides Australian state governments with an average of 7.3% of their own taxes, about $5147 million, according to ABS data for 2010-11. Victoria (10.8%) and New South Wales (8.6%) earn above…
A poor report card on Australia’s productivity carried some obvious flaws. Flickr

Gloomy productivity report hides some fatal flaws

This week’s global report ranking Australia’s productivity growth performance second-last on a list of 51 countries raised eyebrows and prompted calls for urgent action. The Australian Human Resources…
Bill Shorten has flagged that there will be significant structural reforms to the superannuation industry. AAP

Streamlining superannuation: not as simple as it seems

Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten has set up a Productivity Commission inquiry to define the criteria for selecting a default superannuation fund under “modern awards”. By October, commissioners…
Family members shouldn’t be pressured to take on the caring responsibilities of relatives.

Should we care? Why many carers have no choice

Increasingly, governments rely on family carers to provide aged and disability care services. For many, family care is a demonstration of love and duty, but often there is little choice. The word carer…
Older people are finally being consulted about the type of care they need. EPA/Diego Azubel

Ask the elderly what they need, not the care industry

Australia’s population is ageing, presenting an economic challenge to look after the most vulnerable members of our society. The Productivity Commission released a report last month recommending a complete…
The Productivity Commission’s report gives the retail sector plenty to think about. AAP

Ignoring our retail crisis will come at a serious price

Amid the panic that gripped the global markets over past few weeks, there have been some further signs that Australia’s retail sector is in the midst of its own crisis. Along with a sales slump for department…
The Productivity Commission makes a number of recommendations about how we can best care for the eldderly. AZAdam

Caring for elderly Australians report: experts respond

The Productivity Commission has released the Caring for Older Australian report. Experts respond. Rhonda Nay, Professor of Interdisciplinary Aged Care at La Trobe University gives a general response to…

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