JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
NO PLAN FOR FLATLINING PRODUCTIVITY
A big announcement about a scheduled and expected productivity review on the eve of an election doesn’t make up for this Government’s failures on productivity for much of its near-decade in office.
Productivity has been flatlining on the Coalition’s watch.
- Labour productivity – output per hour worked – grew at around 2 per cent a year from the 1970s to the early-2010s, but from 2014-15 to 2019-20, productivity grew at an average pace of just 0.5 percent – well below the historical average.
- The decade ending in 2020 saw the slowest rate of growth in income per person of any decade in the post-war era. That’s true even if we exclude the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once again we see a gaping hole between rhetoric and reality – the Government hasn’t even responded to its last productivity review, published in 2017.
Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg talk a big game but have repeatedly failed to hit their own government’s projections and there’s nothing to give Australians confidence they will suddenly buck that trend now.
Poor productivity performance means a smaller economy, growing slower than it could be, and another decade of failed productivity targets would leave hardworking Australians worse off.
The Morrison Government’s own Intergenerational Report admits that if productivity was to grow even 0.3 per cent slower than the optimistic assumption currently underpinning the forecasts, the economy will be almost 10 per cent smaller by 2060 and Australians will be $32,000 worse off on average.
What Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg will never understand is that you can’t rort and waste your way to productivity growth.
To really get productivity moving we need investment in energy, technology, infrastructure and human capital - in people not politics.
We need investment in infrastructure that will propel our economy forward, like cleaner and cheaper energy and an NBN that will underpin our digital economy.
We need a plan to train people, through free TAFE and more university places to fill skill shortages now and into the future and ensure there are more opportunities for more people in more parts of the country.
We need a Future Made in Australia, by co-investing in advanced manufacturing and other critical sectors to create jobs, diversify the economy, revitalise our regions through partnerships with business and help turn good ideas into good, secure jobs.
Australians can’t afford another decade like the last, defined by economic complacency and productivity sliding backwards, which makes it more difficult for hardworking Australians to actually get ahead.
Scott Morrison says election results define a decade, but when it comes to productivity the Coalition’s failures have set the nation on a path to four more decades of stagnation.
MONDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2022