ECONOMY & JOBS

ECONOMY & JOBS

Background
Sustainable Australia supports a prosperous, diverse and resilient economy, designed to secure a healthy environment and a better quality of life, for all Australians. Our economy should develop due to improvements in productivity, innovation, skills, education, workforce participation, technology and entrepreneurship, not population and debt. We must also reject the myth that high immigration is required to offset our gradually ageing population.

Full 'background' at bottom of page.

Policy
Australia should develop a more prosperous, diverse, resilient and sustainable economy.

Policy Methods (Federal & State)
To help achieve this Australia should, as a matter of urgency, implement Sustainable Australia’s five-point economic plan:

  • Stabilise Australia’s population mainly through lower immigration, in order to better direct Australia’s scarce economic capital into a diverse and innovative economy with sustainable jobs, and away from narrowly catering for the need to house, transport and service an ever-bigger population.
  • Better invest in education and skills training of Australian citizens, in order to, amongst other things, relieve downward pressure on wages and uplift the millions of economically disenfranchised members of the current population.
  • Re-allocate our scarce economic capital into a diverse, resilient and innovative economy, supporting stronger agriculture and manufacturing sectors, reducing government debt and assisting with the retention and regaining of Australian ownership of vital and iconic assets.
  • Implement comprehensive taxation reform to deliver a simpler and fairer tax system. Sustainable Australia has outlined a number of tax reforms, including property capital gains tax concessions and negative gearing (see HOUSING AFFORDABILITY policy), land tax and a multinational diverted profits tax (see policy below). Comprehensive tax reform would put all major taxes on the table, including income, company, multinational, superannuation and job-destroying state payroll taxes.
  • Sustainably manage our environmental resources including food, water, energy and minerals. We would thereby retain Australia’s comparative economic advantages, while protecting a clean and natural environment and reducing the risk posed by external economic shocks.

Further policy detail:

  • Revitalise small business by reducing unnecessary red tape compliance costs and regulation, and delivering a fairer market place for the backbone of our economy. Initiatives would include:
    • Removing small business employers’ involvement in the collection of superannuation funds for their employees (super can be better collected and managed by the ATO by including superannuation in a worker’s gross pay and PAYG payment);
    • Instant write-off for small business assets under $20,000;
    • Having an ‘effects test’ in competition policy, to protect small business from misuse of market power.
  • End multinational tax avoidance and profit shifting to low or no tax jurisdictions so that such multinationals pay their fair share of tax on sales in Australia. Initiatives would include:
    • Prohibit corporations from claiming tax deductions for any interest paid to related entities based overseas;
    • Introduce a 50% Diverted Profits Tax (or ‘Google Tax’) on profits sent overseas for corporations deemed to have arranged their business structure to avoid tax.
  • The gradual broadening of land tax over at least 20 years to replace property stamp duty reliance.(1)
  • Establish economic summits, both in each state and federally, to determine how best to diversify state, federal and regional economies and identify prioritised industries.
  • Tax incentives (including lower payroll tax, land tax and rates) for businesses that transfer their capital investment into prioritised industries and/or regional centres.
  • Place a strong emphasis on manufacturing due to its central role in economic development and resilience because of the hugely beneficial flow-on effects to the Australian economy, aiming for manufacturing to be at least 10 per cent of economic activity.
  • Support a fair industrial relations system that recognises the important roles played by both business and unions.
  • Provide clearer country of origin labelling laws to help consumers easily choose Australian made goods and services.
  • Better support Australian made products and services through government purchases and public marketing campaigns.
  • Support not-for-profit Co-operatives and Mutual Enterprises to provide innovative and inclusive businesses at community level.
  • Focus genuine economic performance not simply on GDP, but also prioritise the following economic indicators, measured properly, including: High employment; Balanced budgets; Balanced trade; Low interest rates; and Low inflation and cost of living.
  • Prioritise broader environmental and social wellbeing indicators including clean air, biodiversity, education and health standards, and life expectancy.
  • Partaking in the global economy through fair trade that allows a level playing field for Australian workers and businesses. This should include:
    • Prioritising mutually high environmental standards in all trade agreements.
    • Prioritising compliance with strong human rights, labour and employment conditions in all trade agreements.
    • Imposing sustainability levies (related to the environment) and social levies (related to labour rights) on products from countries that don’t meet minimum requirements, and place import bans on relevant products from countries where breaches of environmental or human rights standards persist.
    • Reviewing all of Australia’s 'Free Trade Agreements', including the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, for Sustainable Australia policy compliance.

Related policy

  • Also see HOUSING, EDUCATION, SUSTAINABLE POPULATION & IMMIGRATION and REGIONAL & RURAL AUSTRALIA policies.

Footnotes

  1. This would both improve housing affordability for first home buyers and provide a more sustainable and efficient revenue base for State government budgets.

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Background:
Sustainable Australia supports a prosperous, diverse and resilient economy, designed to secure a healthy environment and a better quality of life, for all Australians. Our economy should grow due to improvements in productivity, innovation, skills, education, workforce participation, technology and entrepreneurship, not population and debt.

For too long economic success has been measured with the blunt instrument of aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) growth, including consumption and investment. In great part, this has involved the need to house, transport and service an ever-bigger population. Sustainable Australia measures Australia’s genuine economic progress by considering per capita economic growth against levels of household and government debt, job security and resource use. We also ask whether investment flows are being directed to those sectors that deliver improved economic security, lower risk and a better quality of life for all Australians.

Importantly, ‘free trade’ agreements are leading to the narrowing of our economy. Specialisation and unsustainable cost undercutting create an ever-growing reliance on imports of many critical products and services. But outsourcing our economic security to foreign countries and trading partners leaves Australia extremely vulnerable to global shocks and overseas decision-makers.

Furthermore, to try to ease the congestion associated with rapid population growth and housing construction, governments are retro-fitting our cities with enormously expensive infrastructure like tunnelled toll roads. But our cities are now in ‘diseconomies of scale’, meaning each unit of infrastructure output is increasingly, and now prohibitively, expensive. This budget-crippling infrastructure is leading to growing debt and deficit, public asset sales, austerity, new taxes and charges, and per capita service reduction.

A macro view of the global economy points to the superior per capita economic prosperity of relatively small populations, such as Norway and Singapore. According to the International Monetary Fund, seven out of the top ten per capita GDP countries have populations under 10 million. Larger and faster-growing countries, such as Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan, are generally at the bottom of the per capita wealth table.

Sustainable Australia is the only political party in Australia that recognises that surging population growth, and the misallocation of investment capital and spiralling government debt associated with trying to manage its impacts, is a fundamental threat to our economy, environment, social cohesion and quality of life.