- Banking & Finance
- Employment & Unemployment
- Future of Work
- Gender at Work
- Gig Economy
- Industry & Sector Policies
- Infrastructure & Construction
- Insecure & Precarious Work
- Labour Standards & Workers' Rights
- Population & Migration
- Public Sector, Procurement & Privatisation
- Science & Technology
- Social Security & Welfare
- Tax, Spending & the Budget
- Unions & Collective Bargaining
- Wages & Entitlements
- Young Workers
- Climate & Energy
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The gigification of care is creating insecure work, undermining gender inequality and damaging workforce sustainability New research reveals the unacceptable risks of digital labour platforms and the expansion of gig work in low-paid feminised care and support workforces. Risks are to frontline care and support workers, people receiving care and support and to workforce sustainability.
Commonwealth Budget 2023-24
The Commonwealth government’s 2023-24 budget reveals a progressive government seeking to help lower paid workers and those struggling to pay bills, support public health care, and pursue investments towards a net zero economy. But it is very much a first step, and leaves much more work to be done to repair past harms done to workers, low-income Australians, public services and infrastructure, and the environment.
RBA Review a Missed Opportunity
The Commonwealth Treasury has released the report of a three-person panel charged with reviewing the structure, governance, and effectiveness of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Treasurer Jim Chalmers accepted in principle all 51 of the panel’s recommendations, ranging from creating a separate board to make decisions on interest rates, to giving the Bank a simpler dual mandate to pursue both price stability and full employment.
Inclusive and Sustainable Employment for Jobseekers Experiencing Disadvantage
This report provides an overview of workplace and job-related factors found to act as barriers to sustainable and inclusive employment for people in groups likely to experience labour market disadvantage. Key findings are that job quality, working arrangements, inclusivity and opportunity for participation at work all matter for inclusive and sustainable employment, along with individual and external systemic and structural barriers to work.
Minimum wages and inflation
New research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute has revealed how rises in the minimum wage have almost no impact on inflation and given the collapse in the value of the minimum wage in real terms over the past 2 years, a 7% increase is a necessary recompense for Australia’s lowest
Profits and Inflation in Mining and Non-Mining Sectors
New research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute has shed further light on the role of higher corporate profits in driving higher prices in Australia since the COVID pandemic.
Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment
As tertiary education has become increasingly essential to employment outcomes, financial security, and meeting the demands of the future economy, the importance of affordable or free tertiary education increases. Instead, education is getting more expensive. Tuition fees have increased significantly since their introduction, and debts are growing and taking longer to repay. The context of
The Fiscal, Economic, and Public Health Dangers of Water Privatisation
Safe drinking water and sewage services are one of the most essential elements of public infrastructure in our society. Communities cannot survive and thrive without reliable water services. Providing those services is core business for any municipal or regional government.
The Times They Aren’t A-Changin (enough)
This report examines the barriers to closing the gender gap by reviewing Australia’s position within the industrial countries of the OECD. The report also uses data from the ABS and the ATO to highlight gender disparities across all levels of income, ranges of occupation and ages, as well as disparities regarding who undertakes the greater
Profit-Price Spiral: The Truth Behind Australia’s Inflation
Workers in Australia have suffered considerable economic losses as a result of accelerating inflation since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Reaching a year-over-year rate of 7.8% by end-2022, inflation has rapidly eroded the real purchasing power of workers’ incomes; average wages are currently growing at less than half the pace of prices. Now, severe
Lost at Sea
New research from the Centre for Future Work challenges the methodology and conclusions of a recent Productivity Commission study of productivity in Australia’s container port system.
The report, by economist Dr Phil Toner, suggests that the Commission’s exercise was ideologically motivated, and failed to properly interpret its own data.
Theft By Any Other Name: Go Home On Time Day 2022
This year marks the fourteenth annual Go Home on Time Day (GHOTD), an initiative of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute that shines a spotlight on the maldistribution of working hours and the scale of unpaid overtime worked by Australians.
Call Me Maybe (Not)
Working beyond scheduled hours has long been a problem for Australian workers. The nature and scale of overtime has more recently been shaped by the rise in flexible working arrangements and the integration of information and communication technology at work. Checking emails on the weekend, taking multiple-time-zone calls out of hours, and teleconferencing from the dining table have all become familiar experiences amongst workers. This both enabled working from home conditions during the pandemic for a large portion of workers, and accelerated patterns of overtime through the blurring of lines between work and home life.
Public Services in the Hunter
The provision of essential public services generates extraordinary and far-reaching economic and social benefits for the Hunter region. A new report prepared by the Centre for Future Work documents the scale of these benefits for workers, families and communities across the Hunter. The fact sheets provide a portrait of the different ways public services build a stronger economy, strong communities, and better lives.
Going Nuclear: The Costs of Mid-Bargaining Termination of Enterprise Agreements
New research from the Centre for Future Work quantifies the dramatic risks faced by workers whose employers unilaterally terminate enterprise agreements during the course of renegotiations. This aggressive employer strategy, which became common after a precedent-setting 2015 court decision, would be curtailed by new industrial relations legislation proposed by the Commonwealth government.
Collective Bargaining and Wage Growth in Australia
The reforms proposed in the Secure Jobs, Better Wages bill represent important but incremental steps in restoring a better balance of bargaining power between workers and employers, and lifting wage growth back toward a normal and healthier pace.
The Cumulative Costs of Wage Caps for Essential Service Workers in NSW
Since 2012 the NSW government has arbitrarily suppressed pay gains for workers in state-funded public services (including health care, education, public administration, emergency services, and more). At first those pay caps were justified as a deficit-reduction measure, and then later as being supposedly tied to inflation trends. But both those arguments have been discarded, given state surpluses in most years since the cap was introduced, and now the dramatic acceleration in inflation (now running more than twice as fast as allowed compensation gains).
The October 2022-23 Commonwealth Budget: A Good Start… But Rocky Times Ahead
The new Albanese Labor government has tabled a revised budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, revising revenue and spending forecasts originally contained in the March budget (from the previous Morrison government), and providing new funding to support several new programs and policies.
Inflation: A Primer
Over the past year, inflation has accelerated both in Australia and in most advanced economies, to rates much faster than have been observed for many years. Not unsurprisingly, this has caused much concern among people whose cost of living has risen abruptly. It has also created great challenges for policy makers: the risks of tackling higher inflation are high, given that the conventional response is to reduce aggregate demand, economic activity, and employment in order to “cool off” spending and thus reduce price pressures. This can mean that the “cure” can be worse than the “disease” – especially if, as occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, a recession follows efforts to constrain inflation.
Robbed at Sea
Seafarers perform difficult, often dangerous work that is essential to the operation of global supply chains, delivering all the merchandise we take for granted in modern life. Yet because of the legal vacuum governing international marine traffic, a lack of resources and attention for enforcement by national regulators, and the corporate strategies of shipping companies and their customers, seafarers are subject to some of the worst exploitation and abuse of any occupation in the world economy.
Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care
Current work and care arrangements in Australia contribute to economic and social disadvantage for carers, the vast majority of whom are women. Patterns of labour force participation and employment provide clear indicators of the inequities inherent in Australia’s current care and work arrangements. These patterns show we do not have equitably shared care arrangements, nor equitable employment opportunities and outcomes for women. Australia requires much stronger support systems, more effective work and care policies and more secure and fairly-paid jobs to address these problems.
An Economy That Works for People
The new Commonwealth government is hosting a major Jobs Summit in September 2022, bring together representatives from a range of stakeholder groups to discuss the challenges facing Australia’s labour market, and how to achieve strong employment, job quality and security, and better skills and training opportunities.
Wages, Prices and the Federal Election
The recent federal election featured important debate regarding the rising cost of living in Australia, and whether and how wages should be boosted to keep up with higher prices. One exchange, late in the campaign, occurred when ALP leader Anthony Albanese stated his belief that wages should keep up with prices — but then was
Working With COVID: Insecure Jobs, Sick Pay, and Public Health
Almost one in five Australians (and a higher proportion of young workers) acknowledge working with potential COVID symptoms over the course of the pandemic, according to new opinion research published by the Centre for Future Work. The research confirms the public health dangers of Australia’s existing patchwork system of sick leave and related entitlements. The main
Submission to the Productivity Commission Study on Aged Care Employment
In 2021 the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that gig work, independent contracting and other ‘indirect’ employment arrangements be restricted in the publicly-funded aged care sector.
The Wages Crisis Revisited
A comprehensive review of Australian wage trends indicates that wage growth is likely to remain stuck at historically weak levels despite the dramatic disruptions experienced by the Australian labour market through the COVID-19 pandemic. The report finds that targeted policies to deliberately lift wages are needed to break free of the low-wage trajectory that has
Educating for Care
This report from the Carmichael Centre argues that Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services should be treated as a strategic industry of national importance – not just a ‘market’, and not just a ‘cost’ item on government budgets.
At the Crossroads
If the federal government lifts annual higher education spending to 1% of GDP, it could repair the destruction inflicted by the COVID pandemic and make universities more accessible and affordable for all Australians, according to new research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute.
The Economic Benefits of High-Quality Universal Early Child Education
Expanded ECEC services would provide a badly-needed boost to Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Budget Analysis 2022-23
The Commonwealth Government has tabled its budget for the 2022-23 financial year. As the nation emerges from two years of lockdowns and border closures, with less than two months until a federal election, this budget is focused on getting the government re-elected – rather than addressing the challenges of public health, stagnant wages, and sustainability facing Australia.