- Housing Affordability
- Job Guarantee
- Privatisation & Public Assets
- Regional & Rural Australia
- Sustainable Population & Immigration (Australia)
- See below
Advance social wellbeing via a prosperous, diverse and equitable economy with secure jobs for all who want them, while acknowledging and working within safe environmental limits.
Policy Methods (Federal & State)
To help achieve this Sustainable Australia Party will:
- Recognise that neoliberal 'economic growth' - as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) - based on increasing consumption of resources and/or increasing population is not environmentally sustainable and therefore is not a desirable goal for Australia or humanity
- Reject arbitrary and nonsensical GDP-focused economic terminology such as 'recession'
- Use a broader Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as a key measure of Australia’s progress that redefines growth and prioritises growth in good things, including:
- Health and wellbeing, including happiness
- A more equal distribution of wealth
- A healthy environment
- Quality education
- Affordable housing
- Full employment
- Economic diversity and self-sufficiency
- A circular, no-waste economy
- Stopping corruption
- Operate Australia’s economy within the principles of 'ecological economics', including recognising that:
- The economy is embedded within the broader ecosystem (environment) that also supports human wellbeing – and therefore must operate within safe environmental limits (i.e. sustainably)
- Wherever possible, use natural resources in a way and at a rate that maintains and enhances the resilience of ecosystems and the benefits they provide. In doing so, meeting the needs of present generations of people without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
- Recognise and advocate that, in accordance with Modern Monetary Theory (MMT):
- Government spending is primarily funded through the publicly owned Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), rather than through taxes
- Taxes primarily assist governments to control inflation
- Establish a national enquiry to formally investigate the best monetary system to serve an environmentally and socially sustainable economy, including modern monetary theory
- Provide an affordable, world class education system that gives all Australians the skills and attributes they need to flourish in society (also see Education policy)
- Properly measure unemployment and underemployment and prioritise full employment (also see Job Guarantee policy)
- Re-establish the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) (also see Privatisation & Public Assets policy)
- Prioritise local workers for employment opportunities across the economy, including:
- Where structural labour shortage appear in the economy, lift wages and conditions including through temporary government support for workers and employers, rather than import unskilled, low-skilled and/or semi-skilled workers
"AgriAus had more than 1500 applicants for farm work but was unable to secure even one of them a job due to farmers’ preference for foreign workers." The New Daily
"I have extensive experience in hospitality and fruit and veg supply, but the minute I tell them I have my own accommodation it is the last I hear from any of them... Mr Muir said several farmers told him flat out they won’t hire Australians... I’m not as exploitable as a foreigner.” The New Daily
"[With international borders closed and migrant labour unavailable, ANZ CEO Shayne] Elliott said the bank has launched a number of programs, including with the Victorian government, to encourage older people to return to the world of work as well as women." Yahoo Finance
"There are millions of Australians, according to these recent figures, not engaged in any work. To be precise, in February, 2.2 million were not employed and wanted to work... Of those 2.2 million, 808,000 were looking for work. This is the group that falls under the accepted definition of "unemployed". But the data also reveals 1.81 million did not look for work. That is, there were more than a million Australians who were not in work, could work and wanted to work, but did not look for a job. And over three-quarters of these candidates were available to start immediately or within four weeks." Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Rapidly transition Australia’s economy away from its heavy over-reliance upon property development and real estate speculation to one that is more innovative, diverse and self-sufficient – and therefore much more resilient and adaptable to changing economic and global circumstances
- Stabilise Australia’s population as soon as practicable (also see Sustainable Population & Immigration (Australia) policy), in order to help reduce the attractiveness of property development and real speculation, and thereby better direct Australia’s scarce economic capital into a diverse and innovative economy
- Place a strong emphasis on manufacturing due to its central role in economic development and resilience and the hugely beneficial flow-on effects to the Australian economy, including value-added jobs
"A 1.5-tonne [large shipboard fitting] part manufactured in Adelaide has been certified, making it the world’s largest approved 3D-printed shipboard fitting and opening the door to a potential flood of new work." InDaily
- Partake in the global economy through fair trade that allows a level playing field for Australian workers and businesses (also see Trade policy) and prioritise greater localisation and self-sufficiency over globalisation and so-called free trade, including:
- Better support Australian made products and services through government purchases and public marketing campaigns
"When the pandemic hit at the start of 2020, Med-Con was the only surgical mask manufacturer in the entire country.. The federal government begged Med-Con to boost its supply... Med-Con sprang into action, purchasing 10 new machines, hiring more than 100 staff... "But once pandemic pressures started to ease, health services rapidly returned to their overseas suppliers of old. And for [Australian mask manufacturer] Med-Con, business suddenly dried up." Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Revitalise small business by reducing unnecessary red tape compliance costs and regulation, and thereby deliver a fairer marketplace for the backbone of our economy. Initiatives would include:
- Introducing a GST-free threshold of $26,000 in turnover, so that all small businesses that register for the GST would only pay on turnover above this amount, in part to compensate small business for collecting GST
- Implementing a standard maximum 30-day payment requirement to small businesses for their invoices to government and big business
- Having an 'effects test' in competition policy, to protect small business from misuse of market power
- Support not-for-profit Co-operatives and Mutual Enterprises to provide innovative and inclusive businesses
- Investigate the viability of establishing a publicly owned commercial bank to provide a much-needed benchmark for the banking sector. Operation would include areas of low-risk deposits and lending and possibly operate as part of the Reserve Bank of Australia (also see Privatisation & Public Assets policy)
Increase competition where appropriate and help prevent excessive corporate market power and abuse, including:
- Greater resources and powers for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to enforce truth in advertising laws, competition, de-monopolisation and divestment
- A higher corporate tax rate for industry sectors suffering from excessive monopolisation or market concentration
- Appoint an independent authority to conduct a review of Australian aviation regulations and productivity
- Support a fair industrial relations system that recognises the important roles played by both business and unions
Sustainable Australia Party supports secure jobs via a more diverse economy. Within safe environmental limits, our economy should develop due to improvements in productivity, innovation, skills, education, workforce participation, technology and entrepreneurship, not the mirage of mining exports, housing debt and and rapid population growth.
"We already knew that real per capita wages & salaries have fallen by around 2% in the decade to March 2017." MacroBusiness
“Headline economic [GDP] figures, fuelled by immigration and mining exports, were instead hiding the fact that some Australian living standards were being eroded." News.com.au
“South Sydney, once the domain of the industrial juggernaut Goodman, is now dotted with high-density Meriton apartments... Where once [economically productive] 'office' or 'industrial' was the highest and best use, [unproductive investment in] residential is now commanding the big bucks.” The New City
Importantly, economic diversity is strength.
To avoid even further deindustrialisation, we urgently need to reallocate Australia’s scarce economic capital (bank lending, superannuation fund investment, personal savings, etc). Capital should move away from our overinvestment in relatively unproductive land, housing and property speculation - and back into our factories, farms and small businesses, to re-diversify our economy.
"The report from Flinders University’s Australian Industrial Transformation Institute shows Australia is independently unable to meet its essential needs in times of crisis, following a three-decade-long collapse in Australian manufacturing." InDaily
"The latest Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity ranks Australia 93rd, lagging Kazakhstan, Uganda and Senegal, and only just ahead of Pakistan and Mali." ABC
"A nation making coffee not cars." ABC
“Interventions that favour one industry can make the rest of the community worse off. The Commission has long argued that policies supporting particular industries [e.g. property] can have large costs in that they allocate resources away from the uses [e.g. factories, farms and small businesses] that are most welfare enhancing for the community..." InQld
Step one is to address the corrupting influence of vested interests who are driving politically engineered policies to favour the property industry - including property investment tax concessions, rapid population growth and foreign ownership.
It is a myth to suggest that Australia needs foreign ownership or even significant foreign investment. 80 per cent of total investment capital in Australia's economy is local, but too much of it is being 'misallocated' into relatively unproductive assets like housing.
"What the AFR’s phrase 'capital-importing Australia' obscures is that about 80 per cent of new capital deployed in Australia each year is formed right here. ABS data show that in the 12 months to March, new capital accumulated in Australia totalled $350 billion. Of that, [only] $75 billion was imported." The New Daily
Since Australia's population growth was tripled in the Howard era, per capita GDP growth has plummeted:
"Some advocates of high immigration claim that it raises the rate of growth per head... It is worth noting that the IMF data shows that Australia’s experience of high immigration has done anything but lift the economy: since 2013, when the Coalition was elected, Australia has had by far the highest rate of immigration and population growth of the big twelve, yet the third lowest growth in per capita output." Inside Story
At both federal and state level, successive Liberal and Labor governments are relying on this unsustainable overdevelopment and rapid population growth, creating a "real estate-driven" economy with "productivity going backwards" that is "setting the precedents for a really significant slowdown.” The New Daily
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 Party 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.
Sustainable Australia Party is the only political party in Australia that recognises that surging population growth and housing demand, 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 and quality of life.
"Road congestion could cost the Australian economy $38.8 billion a year by 2031 if infrastructure spending fails to keep up with population growth." The New Daily
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.
“It used to be easy to deliver infrastructure when the government owned the land, but because our major cities are already planned and built up, there is no room to retro-fit new infrastructure without expensive additions like land buy-backs and tunnelling." William Bourke
We also completely reject the myth that high immigration is required to either offset our gradually ageing population or maintain our economic prosperity.
"How many times does the Productivity Commission have to remind us that immigration is not a feasible countermeasure to an ageing population? It made this point in 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2016: Substantial increases in the level of net overseas migration would have only modest effects on population and the impact would be temporary since immigrants age themselves.” The Australian
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.
Again, Sustainable Australia Party 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 and quality of life.
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