Today brings the penultimate tranche ofÂ Imagining Australia ideas – these ones on growth and the economy.
We envisage a dynamic and innovative Australia, with a sustainable economy to underpin the high standard of living enjoyed by all Australians.
We explain that economic growth is important, not because it is an end in itself, but because of the potential it has to help improve our lives. We detail how the reforms of the last twenty years have improved the standard of living in Australia and why it is important to continue to improve our economy.
We begin by addressing the problem that, while the reforms of the last two decades have improved the lives of most Australians, there is still great anxiety about economic change.
– We discuss why economic liberalisation was necessary, on the whole well-implemented, and has benefited Australians by raising living standards.
– We explain why critics of economic rationalism have got it wrong, and why their alternatives represent a false promise of prosperity.
– We emphasise the need for Australia’s policymakers and leaders to engage with the public and to clearly articulate the importance of continuing economic reform.
In the second section we present ideas for the ongoing economic reform agenda. These proposals are centred on a more open economy and new economic institutions and laws.
– We argue that Australia should pursue a multilateral reduction in trade barriers, and propose reinvigorating global trade negotiations by leveraging Australia’s trade relationships.
– We believe that Australia needs more foreign investment, and we suggest removing impediments to foreign investment, such as the Foreign Investment Review Board.
– We advocate creating an independent fiscal authority using adjustable taxation rates to help smooth the economic cycle.
– We propose amending corporate bankruptcy rules, and reorientating them towards director-led reorganisations of large firms.
Improving industry productivity and international competitiveness is especially important for our ongoing economic growth and we present initiatives to make industry policy harder and smarter and to strengthen Australia’s innovation system.
– We propose that industry assistance be transparent to ensure the greatest return from public investment in industry promotion.
– To improve innovation and productivity in industry, we suggest that government and business support the development of industry clusters.
– We propose strengthening Australia’s capacity to innovate by extending innovation funding, facilitating circular migration for expatriate researchers, and establishing overseas technology parks for Australian firms.
– We argue that a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship should pervade all levels of Australian society, and be encouraged by our national leaders.
– Finally, we present ideas to better prepare the next generation of business leaders to meet the challenges of business in the global economy.