CEDA report: Productivity lift needed to protect living standards



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Lifting productivity must become a priority in 2015 or gains in our standard of living could be significantly eroded as the terms of trade continue to decline and our population ages, according to CEDA’s 2015 Economic and Political Overview.

Releasing the annual publication, CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said there were positive signs the business community was taking action to lift productivity but there needed to be greater focus on innovation and investment in people.

“Economic reform will also be vital to keep our economy healthy as terms of trade continue to fall post the mining boom,” Professor Martin said.

“On the political front, key issues will also result from our changing economic fortunes with rising unemployment and underemployment, particularly youth unemployment, and industrial relations.”
Other key economic forecasts include that:

GDP growth will remain below average in 2015 before returning to around average in 2016;

  • The rate of decline in resources investment is expected to increase this year;
  • Housing construction’s contribution to growth will fade in 2015 without further rises in building approvals; and
  • A sustained pick-up in household spending growth is needed this year to support the non-mining sectors.

In addition to the economic and political forecasts this year’s publication also looks at finance and funding of Australia’s future growth and funding social equity.

“As debates continue on access to healthcare and education and rising unemployment in particular youth unemployment, social equity is likely to become a major issue in 2015,” Professor Martin said.

“Analysis provided in the CEDA report highlights areas where changes are needed such as Newstart, education and health.

“Importantly it also provides areas where savings could be made in the Federal budget to help fund the changes needed including:

• Changing the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme to reduce ineffective subsidies and over-pricing of drugs, potentially saving billions of dollars; 
• Reducing tax breaks for superannuation; and 
• Increasing the preservation age for access to superannuation to encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.”

Professor Martin said financing in Australia has been examined because this is likely to significantly change in the coming decades, particularly with the growing pools of funds managed through superannuation and likely increasing foreign capital flows, in particular from China

“It is important that Australia is on the front foot about how these changes will impact business more generally but also financing for major projects such as infrastructure.

“Unfortunately the political instability currently being experienced federally, and at a state level through changes of government, is impacting on debates and implementation of reforms and major projects we need to keep our economy on track.

“It is also concerning that there has been a lack of appetite for national debate on areas of reform that need to be examined now such as broadening or increasing the GST, corporate tax loopholes and Federal/State fiscal arrangements.

About the EPO

CEDA’s EPO, which has been produced annually for more than 30 years, provides analysis and discussion from leading economic, political and academic analysts on key issues that will have a significant impact on Australia in 2015.

CEDA 2015 EPO contributing authors are:

Economic outlook – Warren Hogan, Chief Economist, ANZ; Justin Fabo, Senior Economist, ANZ

Political outlook – Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan Research

Funding social equity – Dr Cassandra Goldie, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council of Social Service

Finance and funding – Professor Rodney Maddock, Adjunct Professor, Monash University; Vice Chancellor's Fellow, Victoria University

Download the 2015 EPO publication (pdf)

View the 2015 EPO publication as e-book

Read opinion piece - Economic reform as a result of crisis is not what we want by Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin

2015 EPO launch event

The launch of CEDA's 2015 EPO publication discussing the year ahead with speakers from politics, business and media including a keynote address by the Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. Mike Baird was live streamed from Sydney on Friday, 13 February 2015.

A video of the 2015 Economic and Political Overview launch will be available here on the CEDA website shortly.

The launch event will be followed by a series of events being held in BrisbaneHobartAdelaideCanberra,TownsvilleMelbournePerth and Darwin.

Past EPOs

Economic and Political Overview 2014

CEDA's EPO 2014 provides economic and political forecasts, and examines government productivity, red tape, and how external factors will shape Australia's economy. The publication was launched with a series of events in capital cities across Australia during February and March. Read the EPO 2014 media release or the opinion piece by CEDA Chief Executive, Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin.

Click here to download pdf copy of the EPO 2014


Economic and Political Overview 2013

CEDA's EPO 2013 examines the Australian economy and politics at state and federal levels with insights and information on the operating environment over 2013. The publication was launched with a series of events in capital cities across Australia. These events examined the important issues of electricity prices and the future of work as well as providing economic and political outlooks for 2013. Click here to access summary, articles and videos from the 2013 EPO.

Click here to download pdf copy of the 2013 EPO. 


Economic and Political Overview 2012

CEDA’s EPO 2012 examines the challenges faced by our multi-speed economy; the likely impact of key policies including the carbon tax, mining tax, poker machine reforms; Australia's productivity performance over the past decade and how to improve productivity. The publication launched with a series of events across Australia. These events examined the important issues of productivity and federal/state financial relations, and provided economic and political outlooks for 2012.

Click here to download pdf copy of the 2012 EPO. 

See our archive of EPOs from previous years.