Media release issued: Thursday, 17 February 2011
CEDA's Economic and Political Overview (EPO) for 2011 is released at a time of political uncertainty and various governance challenges in Australia. This is in a context of huge economic opportunities on the back of external minerals-related demand - and the resulting sectoral, regional and population challenges.
Download the EPO here.
These challenges are increased by the recent floods, which follow in turn a long and serious drought across much of Australia.
This year's EPO includes four chapters by well-known Australian economic and policy experts:
The Economy: Respected NAB economists Alan Oster and Ben Westmore indicate a multi-speed economy characterised by falling unemployment, growth of 2.75 per cent and a hard to predict negative effect of flooding in the three eastern states. Features highlighted include regional differences in growth, continuing strong demand for resources particularly from China, skills shortages, upwards pressure on wage rates and price inflation.
Politics and Governance:Professor Kenneth Wiltshire assesses the political landscape in Australia, and has a somewhat pessimistic view that the government will not be able to meet many of its policy commitments in light of the composition of the national parliament, to be complicated when The Greens assume the balance of power in the Senate after 1 July.
Policy challenges include climate change (still), taxation changes including a carbon tax, population and sustainable development, infrastructure, water and the controversial National Broadband Network.
Population: Dr Jonathan Pincus writes on the challenges of population policy, setting out the arguments with respect to the 'optimal' size of an Australian population in the coming decades, the contribution (negative or positive) of immigration, and limited the nature of policy levers available to government to influence population levels.
Regionalism: CEDA Research Director, Dr Michael Porter, provides a piece on new regionalism, including "virtual regionalism" based around new communications technology and targeting of differing groups. Is there scope for less direction from Canberra, reflected in the speeches of the new Minster for Regional Australia Simon Crean. Can we use vouchers for example to enable communities rather than Canberra to choose the mix of benefits, be it more or less broadband, hospitals or education facilities, rather than the usual tied assistance models.
CEDA's EPO conference series commences in Sydney on 17 February.