JOBS & ECONOMY
- 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 population and debt.
Since population growth was tripled in the Howard era, per capita GDP growth has plummeted:
- We urgently need to re-allocate a significant portion of Australia’s scarce economic capital - from massive over-investment in housing and property speculation, via personal savings, bank lending, superannuation funds, etc - back into our factories, farms and small businesses, to re-diversify our economy.
- 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.
See full background at bottom of page.
Australia should develop a more prosperous, inclusive, diverse and resilient economy with a simpler and fairer tax system.
Policy Methods (Federal & State)
To help achieve this Australia should, as a matter of urgency, implement Sustainable Australia’s economic plan:
- 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.
- Reduce population pressures (also see SUSTAINABLE POPULATION - 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.
- Focus genuine economic performance not simply on GDP, or even the somewhat better measure of GDP per person, 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 (non-economic) environmental and social wellbeing indicators including clean air, biodiversity, education, life expectancy and health standards.
- 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.
- Support not-for-profit Co-operatives and Mutual Enterprises to provide innovative and inclusive businesses at community level.
- Establish trial 'job guarantee' programs (especially for youth and the long-term unemployed) that includes opportunities for employment and training in conservation land management in regional (see REGIONAL & RURAL AUSTRALIA policy) 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.
- 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:
- 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 $30,000.
- Having an ‘effects test’ in competition policy, to protect small business from misuse of market power.
- Implementing standard maximum 30-day payment requirements for invoices to government and big business.
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 10 years to replace property stamp duty reliance (see HOUSING policy for details). (1)
- 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 industries and/or regional centres with falling 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.
- Broaden the 10% GST to cover all goods and services in order to simplify the tax system.
- Increase the personal income tax free threshold from $18,200 to $25,000 and, where necessary, reduce personal income tax rates or increase pension and welfare payments to make up for any increased GST payable.
- 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 and instead manage it 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.
- Ensure that all foreign investment is in the long term national interest.(2) 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.(3)
- 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 local production, employment, taxation revenue, inflation, balance of trade, foreign debt, profit flows and sovereignty.
- Also see HOUSING, EDUCATION, SUSTAINABLE POPULATION - AUSTRALIA and REGIONAL & RURAL AUSTRALIA policies.
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 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.
We urgently need to re-allocate a significant portion of Australia’s scarce economic capital - from massive over-investment in housing and property speculation via personal savings, bank lending, superannuation funds, etc - back into our factories, farms and small businesses, to re-diversify our economy.
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.
- This would both improve housing affordability for first home buyers and provide a more sustainable and efficient revenue base for State government budgets.
- 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.
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