- 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
- Democracy & Accountability
- International & Security Affairs
- Law, Society & Culture
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.
Polling – Gas Industry Intervention
In November, The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,001 Australians about their views on possible government interventions in the gas industry. The results show strong support for the government to intervene in the gas industry, either by imposing export controls on gas exporters if they do not meet local demand, or by
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.
Reforming the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax
The present PRRT generates no revenue until the project sponsor gets back all their capital together with the permitted uplift factors. The problem with this approach is that no PRRT revenue is generated for many years which might exceed the life of the project and/or outlast the high returns—the economic rent that should be taxed.
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.
Submission: Defence strategic review
The review’s Terms of Reference do not specifically address the underlying principles of Australia’s strategic policy. However, its intentions—to examine force disposition, preparedness, strategy and associated investments—themselves require some reaffirmation of the basic principles of Australia’s strategic policy. A strategic policy that places a premium on expeditionary deployment of Australian forces in pursuit of Australia’s strategic interests will invoke quite different decisions on force structure and associated force posture than would a strategic policy that places a clear emphasis on the ability to act in the direct defence of Australia.
War gains: LNG Windfall Profits 2022
Energy prices spiked worldwide following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting restrictions on Russia’s gas exports. This has in turn increased the value of Australian LNG exports and the profits of LNG companies. We estimate the war related windfall gain to LNG companies in 2021-22 at between $26 billion and $40 billion.
Polling Research: Stage 3 Tax Cuts October 2022
In October, The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,003 Australians about their views on the stage 3 tax cuts. The same question was asked of 1,409 Australians in September.1 The results show that support for the Labor Government repealing the stage 3 tax cuts has increased since September, while the number of
Raising Revenue in Australia
Australians want more public services that will require more government revenue. This paper summarises Australia’s tax system, its international context, and principles to guide its reform.
Polling – Stage 3 income tax cuts
Key results The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,409 Australians about their views on the stage 3 income tax cuts. The results show that the stage 3 tax cuts are not widely supported. • Respondents were most likely to correctly identify that high income earners would benefit most from stage 3 income
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.
Work, care and homeshare
Homeshare programs have the potential to make a significant contribution to improving Australia’s work and care systems, but are being held back by inter-agency issues, the transfer of disability and aged care to the Commonwealth and lack of resources.
Submission: Towards a 10 year Salmon Plan
Tasmanian salmon companies have gone through a rapid period of growth that has outpaced regulation and science. Company profits have not led to commensurate growth in returns to the State Government or the community. Meanwhile communities bear the costs of the industry. The fast tracking of the salmon industry needs to end.
Polling – Advertising on TV
The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,003 Australians about whether advertising of certain controversial products should be permitted on television. The results show that Australians agree that junk food, gambling, alcohol and tobacco advertising on TV should be banned, and more agree than disagree that ads promoting fossil fuels should be banned.
Woke up call
Given the context in which the term “woke” is used in media commentary, it may surprise readers to discover – for example – that only one in five people who described themselves as woke ahead of the 2022 federal election intended to vote for the Greens; less than the share of woke people who intended
The roles of profits, wages and costs in driving inflation has been widely discussed in recent months. Claims by the Business Council of Australia that profit shares are at a 20-year low are not supported by official data sources.
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.
Childcare Review & Strike Require Systemic Solutions: Research Report
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%
Windfall Profits Tax Research – June 2022
Key results The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,001 Australians about their attitudes towards a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry to support Australian households. The results show that: Two in three (67%) Australians support the introduction of a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry to
Are Wages or Profits Driving Australia’s Inflation?
Labour costs have played an insignificant role in the recent increase in inflation, accounting for just 15 percent of economy wide price increases while profits have played an overwhelming role, accounting for about 60 percent of recent inflation.
The role of Buy Now Pay Later services in enhancing competition in the Australian economy
The Australian retail, financial, and online advertising markets are all highly concentrated in Australia. As the last 20 years of attempts to increase competition in these sectors has shown, there is no silver bullet to address the market power of dominant firms in Australia. That said, there is clear consensus that new firms, and new
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
Wage price spiral or price wage spiral?
Firms like Woolworths would have still seen profit growth if they paid all of their workers a five percent pay rise and did not increase prices.
Wage growth played no significant role in the recent surge in inflation and, as the analysis shows, maintaining real wages across the entire economy as distinct from merely maintaining the minimum wage in real terms would have a trivial impact on the price level even if firms seek to recoup all of a nominal wage rise as further price increases.
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