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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.
Key Findings: Australian families currently spend 20% of household income on childcare, far more than in most OECD nations. Swedish households spend just 5% of household income on childcare, Norway spends 8%, and Denmark 10%. Australia has the 3rd highest proportion of private childcare providers receiving government subsidies: 77% compared to 13% in Iceland, 17%
Australia’s housing affordability crisis results from over- reliance on just two options – private home ownership and private renting. To tackle it, a wider repertoire of policies is required.
Foreign aid assistance by Nordic nations is amongst the most generous in the world. Policymakers are increasingly targeting that aid toward climate adaptation. In contrast, Australia’s aid programs remain dismally underfunded. The 2021 May Budget gives Australia an opportunity to reset its priorities and to move closer to the Nordic nations in fulfilling humanitarian responsibilities
It has been claimed that higher levels of taxation weaken the economy but a comparative study of 188 economies shows that higher levels of taxation are correlated with higher average income. The positive correlation also exists with other measures of economic wellbeing. Please note: this report was updated on 8th December 2020, correcting an error
The provision of free childcare provides the rarest of economic policy opportunities – it’s both an effective form of fiscal stimulus in the short term and has the capacity to boost the long-term participation rate and, in turn, the long run rate of economic growth.
Vocational and university education in Australia and Nordic countries – Report for roundtable discussion at the Embassy of Finland Canberra
Norway has implemented a suite of policies to boost electric vehicle uptake. These policies should be considered in Australia’s electric vehicle debate.