Albanese promises ‘productivity project’ in economic vision statement evoking Hawke and Keating

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Anthony Albanese puts a “productivity project” at the center of his economic agenda in the second of his “vision statements,” which seeks to move it further away from the Shorten era.

“Productivity is the key to economic growth, international competitiveness and, ultimately, rising living standards supported in large part by long-term sustainable wage growth,” he said. said in a speech to be delivered in Brisbane on Friday but published in advance.

Albanese describes Australia as currently being in a “productivity recession”.

“When Labor left office in 2013, annual productivity growth averaged 2.2%. Under the Coalition, this rate has halved. In the last two quarters, it has actually declined. “

Albanese says he wants to continue his “productivity project” in partnership with business, unions and civil society, but argues the focus should be much broader than industrial relations and labor practices.

“I want to focus our productivity debate on managing the next wave of challenges. “



Read more: Unlocking the productivity paradox in Australia. Why things are not so great


These include increasing wages; the settlement and management of towns and regions; climate change, energy and environmental sustainability; an aging population and entrenched intergenerational poverty.

“The priorities of our productivity renewal project will be to increase investment in infrastructure, increase business investment and invest in our employees. “

He ties the productivity agenda to strong Labor support for the legislative increase in the pension guarantee – which has become controversial – from its current 9.5% to 12%, saying an ALP government would partner with the government. private sector, including the pension industry, to invest in infrastructure. .

The speech continues Albanese’s speech to improve labor relations with companies. “I want to see business confidence restored and investments renewed,” he said.

A central theme of the speech emphasizes the importance of microeconomic reform. “I have long been a champion of microeconomic reform,” says Albanese.

“The Labor Productivity Renewal Project will revive the process of microeconomic reform and forensic analysis of how economic activity is regulated and where changes need to be made.”

Hailing Hawke-Keating’s record on microeconomic reform, Albanese says that “by the sheer power of their actions, they have reminded us all that there is a natural and central role for the state.”

“But we have now reached the limits of the Hawke-Keating reforms. And new challenges require new impetus.



Read more: Labor seeks to strengthen protections for workers in precarious jobs: Albanians


In the speech, Albanese essentially portrays himself as a fiscal conservative far removed from Bill Shorten’s approach to big spending and higher taxation.

He stresses that the reform program must be complemented by a sound fiscal policy.

“I want our economic framework to be soft-hearted and hard-headed,” he said. The speech is embellished with references to his personal experience of growing up under difficult circumstances.

“As the child of a single mother receiving a disability pension, I appreciate the value of a dollar and the importance of managing your money.

“And having grown up in social housing, I also know all too well the value and the big difference that government assistance can make in the lives of families in difficulty.

“Prudence and mutual obligation are values ​​that I learned growing up and they are values ​​that I will apply to fiscal policy,” he says.

“Our fiscal priorities will be integrated with our long-term objectives to increase our productivity and, consequently, our standard of living and our social mobility,” he says, placing social mobility “at the heart of Labor’s mission”.

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