JOBS & ECONOMY
- Foreign Investment
- Public Assets & Utilities
- Regional & Rural Australia
- Small Business
- Sustainable Australia supports secure jobs via a more diverse economy
- Our economy should develop due to improvements in productivity, innovation, skills, education, workforce participation, technology and entrepreneurship, not the mirage of growing housing debt and population.
To avoid even further deindustrialisation, we urgently need to re-allocate a significant portion of Australia’s scarce economic capital (including personal savings, bank lending, superannuation fund investment, etc) away from massive over-investment in housing and property speculation (attracted there by politically engineered policies including generous investor tax concessions, rapid population growth and allowing foreign purchases) back into our factories, farms and small businesses, to re-diversify our economy.
Importantly, economic diversity is our strength.
See full background at bottom of page.
Develop secure jobs via a more prosperous, inclusive, diverse and resilient economy with a simpler and fairer tax system.
Policy Methods (Federal & State)
To help achieve this Sustainable Australia Party will:
- Focus genuine economic performance not on GDP growth, or even the somewhat better measure of GDP per person, but prioritise broader economic, environmental and social 'wellbeing' indicators, measured properly, including:
- Economic diversity; High employment; Low inflation and cost of living; Low interest rates; Low household debt; Low foreign debt; High standard of living (including real disposable income per capita); (Cyclically) Balanced trade; Clean air; Healthy biodiversity; Education standards; Health standards; and Life expectancy.
- Better invest in education and skills training of Australian citizens via an affordable, world class education system that gives all Australians the skills and attributes they need to secure jobs and flourish in society (see EDUCATION policy). Better education investment will, amongst other things, relieve downward pressure on wages and uplift the many economically disenfranchised members of the current population.
- Prioritise local workers for employment opportunities across the economy.
- Lower population growth / demand (also see SUSTAINABLE POPULATION & IMMIGRATION - AUSTRALIA policy), in order to reduce the attractiveness of property speculation and thereby better direct Australia’s scarce economic capital into a diverse and innovative economy with secure and sustainable jobs. Re-allocating our scarce economic capital into our manufacturing, and small business entrepreneurship sectors, will also help to build available funds to assist with the retention and regaining of Australian ownership of vital and iconic assets, particularly natural monopolies (such as shipping ports and agricultural land). Placing a strong emphasis on manufacturing is important due to its central role in economic development and resilience and the hugely beneficial flow-on effects to the Australian economy.
- Better support Australian made products and services through government purchases and public marketing campaigns.
- Sustainably manage our environmental resources with an economy that operates within ecological limits including food, water, energy and minerals (also see 'Finite & Non-Renewable Resource Use' in ENVIRONMENT policy). 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.
- Support not-for-profit Co-operatives and Mutual Enterprises to provide innovative and inclusive businesses at community level.
- Establish 'job guarantee' programs (especially for youth and the long-term unemployed) that include opportunities for employment and training in conservation land management in regional (see Regional & Rural Australia policy below) and Aboriginal (see A&TSI policy) communities.
- Support a fair industrial relations system that recognises the important roles played by both business and unions.
- Appoint an independent authority to conduct a review of Australian aviation regulations and productivity.
- Ensure that all foreign investment is in the long term national interest.(1) This should include:
- Clearly differentiate between foreign investment and foreign ownership.
- Restrict the purchase of all Australian natural resources, including land, water, minerals and energy resources to Australian citizens and minimum 75 per cent Australian-owned entities.(2)
- Restrict the purchase of Australian residential property and land for residential development (housing) to Australian citizens, longer term (5 year) permanent residents, and minimum 75 per cent Australian-owned entities (see HOUSING AFFORDABILITY policy).
- Determine a clearer definition of the national interest, with public consultation, and maintain a strict and long term interpretation of the national interest when assessing foreign investment proposals. To determine a clearer definition of the long term national interest, Australia should hold a national enquiry into the long term costs and benefits of foreign investment, foreign ownership and ‘free trade’ agreements, including impacts on our environment, local production (offshoring), local jobs, taxation revenue, inflation, balance of trade, foreign debt, profit flows and sovereignty.
Public Assets & Utilities
- Ensure an adequate level of public ownership of assets, utilities and services in order to serve the broader public interest.(3) Initiatives would include:
- Retain, and where appropriate regain, public ownership of essential utilities including electricity, natural gas and water assets.
- Retain, and where appropriate regain, public ownership of natural monopolies that significantly impact on national security such as ports and airports.
- Support a strong public service and public sector, and an end to ideologically-driven outsourcing and asset sales (see GOVERNANCE policy).
- Set clear public asset, utilities and services ownership and operation criteria that enhances financial management efficiency, the ongoing quality of service delivery (particularly in relation to public schools, hospitals and transport), environmental sustainability and the public good.
Regional & Rural Australia
- Better support farmers and regional and rural Australia.(4) Initiatives would include:
- Increased commitment to agricultural research and development, including through greater support for regional universities and TAFE.
- Achieve greater agricultural product commercialisation, regional processing and value-adding opportunities.
- Better promote the financial, health and environmental benefits of local primary products.
- Encourage the re-allocation of Australian investment capital, including superannuation funds, into agriculture and regional development including value-adding manufacturing (see General policy above).
- Implement fair trade policies that address unsustainable cheap imports that unfairly compete with local produce (see Trade policy below).
- Encourage population decentralisation and regional revitalisation, including through regional tax concessions, for inland areas experiencing population decline (see SUSTAINABLE POPULATION & IMMIGRATION policy).
- Establish 'job guarantee' programs (especially for youth and the long-term unemployed) that includes opportunities for employment and training in conservation land management in regional and Aboriginal (see A&TSI policy) communities.
- Further develop land stewardship funds to support relevant farmers and rural landowners to help manage biodiversity values on their properties, including areas that are either high conservation value and/or unsuitable or marginal for agricultural use.
- Further develop community opportunities for employment and training in conservation land management in regional and rural communities where there is high unemployment and low educational attainment, with underutilised labour skilled in practical outdoor work.
- Recognise the adverse effects of fracking and mining on agricultural land and communities, by imposing a moratorium (see ENERGY policy).
- Further develop humane reduction and eradication programs for high-risk feral species.
- Subsidise the reintroduction of larger abattoirs in Australia in order to offer viable alternatives to live animal exporting, minimise animal cruelty, value-add to commodity exports and help secure the livelihood of people in regional and rural Australia.
- Better fund the ABC's regional and rural services to both provide a stronger voice for a fair share of government services and to better educate city-dwellers as to regional, rural and remote community issues.
- Revitalise small business by reducing unnecessary red tape compliance costs and regulation, and thereby deliver a fairer market place for the backbone of our economy. Initiatives would include:
- Implementing standard maximum 30-day payment requirements for invoices to government and big business.
- Instant write-off for small business assets under $30,000.
- Having an ‘effects test’ in competition policy, to protect small business from misuse of market power.
- 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).
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.
- Offer residential property buyers the option of paying current stamp duties or an annual land tax (see HOUSING policy for details).(5)
- Higher housing taxes on foreign buyers (see HOUSING policy).
- Remove the 50 per cent discount of capital gains tax on taxable Australian property (non-principal place of residence) (see HOUSING policy).
- Abolish negative gearing on taxable Australian property (see HOUSING policy).
- Reduce the company tax rate for local manufacturing from 30% to 25%.
- Adopt a Resource Super Profit Tax for iron ore and coal, the details of which would be determined following the implementation of a full resource audit and depletion protocol policy.
- Tax incentives (including lower payroll tax, land tax and rates) for businesses that transfer their capital investment into prioritised productive (particularly value-added manufacturing) industries and/or regional centres with declining populations.
- Introduce the personal income tax "Buffett Rule" meaning that high income earners (over $1 million per year) pay at least 30% personal income tax (as of 2019/20 normal taxpayers pay 32.5c for each $1 earnt over $37,000, plus Medicare levy).
- Recognise and resolve the massive increase in taxes, charges and infrastructure productivity costs caused by rapid population growth.
- Partake in the global economy through fair trade that allows a level playing field for Australian workers and businesses. This should include:
- Removing trade agreement rules that prevent governments from buying local goods and services and supporting local jobs and industries.
- Providing clearer country of origin labelling laws to help consumers easily choose Australian made goods and services.
- Removing immigration from all trade agreements, particularly trade agreements that prioritise foreign workers over Australian workers, and instead manage immigration wholly through the official ‘Migration Program’.
- Removing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions from all trade agreements.
- 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.
Sustainable Australia supports secure jobs via a more diverse economy, with a sustainable 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 the mirage of growing debt and population.
Since Australia's population growth was tripled in the Howard era, per capita GDP growth has plummeted:
As reported in Inside Story:
"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."
As reported in The New Daily:
At both federal and state level, successive Liberal and Labor governments are relying on this unsustainable overdevelopment and overpopulation, creating a "real estate-driven" economy with "productivity going backwards" that is "setting the precedents for a really significant slowdown.”
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.
To avoid even further deindustrialisation, we urgently need to re-allocate a significant portion of Australia’s scarce economic capital (including personal savings, bank lending, superannuation fund investment, etc) away from massive over-investment in housing and property speculation (attracted there by politically engineered policies including generous tax concessions, high immigration and allowing foreign purchases) back into our factories, farms and small businesses, to re-diversify our economy.
The Australia economy is eroding - we're making coffee, not cars:
Sustainable Australia 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.
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.
We also reject the myth that high immigration is required to either offset our gradually ageing population or maintain our economic prosperity.
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 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.
- It is a myth to suggest that Australia needs large-scale 'foreign investment'. 80 per cent of total investment capital in Australia's economy is local, but too much is 'misallocated' into relatively unproductive assets like housing: CLICK HERE
- Ownership of land is not necessary for a foreign entity to conduct business in Australia. Land can be rented or leased. Permitting foreign ownership of land causes land values to be inflated, increasing costs of production and costs of living for Australians. Agricultural, industrial and urban development can be financed by foreign (though preferably local) debt-raising, rather than majority equity sale.
- It is a myth that the private sector always operates more efficiently. Public ownership can often better provide for decisions to be taken in the broader public interest, including the prioritisation of environmental sustainability and the better directing of technological innovation. Examples would be transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy, road to rail freight, and slower depletion of non-renewable resources. Furthermore, public ownership can, where required, be equally or more efficient than private ownership if properly managed and resourced. Privatisations often increase the cost to citizens of accessing the services of essential utilities due to a greater push for profit. Generally only profitable entities are privatised, which means either that the loss of future revenue to government is greater than the sale price, or the future revenue must be escalated by putting up fees to customers. Public asset ownership does not necessarily need to build in profit margins for shareholders, and may therefore provide consumers with products at lower prices.
- Farmers are the backbone of regional and rural communities. They’ve helped feed all of us, through both droughts and floods. Yet farmers and country people have increasingly been taken for granted by major political parties.
- State stamp duties are typically around 5%, whereas an annual land tax would likely be around .5%. A choice would benefit some buyers and the economy in several ways: With a lower total purchase price, the land tax option would improve housing affordability (market entry) for first home buyers, improve labour mobility by encouraging workers to relocate closer to employment, and encourage some people (e.g. empty nesters and short-to-medium-term movers) to more cost-effectively move to housing that better suits their needs.
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