Australia report calls for tax, migration reforms as productivity stalls
FILE PHOTO: A view of the city skyline of Brisbane, the city expected to be announced as host for the 2032 Olympic Games, in Brisbane, Australia, July 4, 2021. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Productivity Commission called on the federal government on Friday to improve tax and migration systems, remove import tariffs and secure net-zero carbon emissions at the lowest cost to boost stalling economic productivity.
The report titled “Advancing Prosperity” and produced once every five years, made 71 recommendations, while warning that the country’s low productivity growth, which has hit the slowest since the 1970s, would curtail long-term prosperity.
“Lifting Australia’s productivity growth will involve a combination of economy-wide and structural reforms, in addition to targeted policies in particular sectors to push Australian industries closer to the global frontier,” said the report.
While acknowledging that productivity improvement in a services-driven economy is hard, the report urged the Labour government of Prime Minister Albanese to tax activities at a more even rate and scrap the skilled nomination list for migrant workers – a list of jobs that Australia critically needs filled but which can be slow to be updated.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned that Australians’ incomes would fall 40% and the working week would get 5% longer by 2063 without major boosts to productivity.
“The Albanese government takes the productivity challenge seriously which is why we’ve committed to a range of productivity-enhancing investments and reforms,” said Chalmers in a statement on Friday.
Chalmers said the government would not be taking up every single recommendation from the report, but that government plans are aligned with the proposed themes.