This is the second of two articles discussing some of the subject areas being addressed by the Morrison Government.
Theme 5 – Retirement income review
How Australians fund retirement, whether through programmed increases in the superannuation guarantee or the ability to use negative gearing to invest in housing was obviously one of the defining issues of the last election.
Following Productivity Commission criticisms on the efficiency of the superannuation sector, the Government has committed to a retirements income review, which includes looking at superannuation, pensions and taxation (although apparently not raising the retirement age to 70 or the preservation of the family home from the effects of the assets test or a proposed increase in the superannuation guarantee).
The issue of whether the superannuation guarantee should be increased to 12% will surely be one of a number of issues under consideration.
A Government seeking a fourth term may need to develop a clear retirement income policy, as the Australian population continues to age.
Theme 6 – managing the economy
It is now clear the economy is slowing.
The general approach of the Government is to adopt the traditional approach of improving productivity through regulatory reform. Although much reform was promised, the most recent ‘report card’ from the newly established Deregulation Taskforce suggests not much more than a tinkering at the edges – it has all the appearances of ‘business as usual’ revision of regulation rather than ‘regulation busting’.
The test of whether there is a taste for significant financial reform will be to see how much, if anything, is taken up from the Federal Financial Relations Review being conducted by the NSW Government.
They have published a discussion paper, with a final report due 2020. We’ll see what comes from it.
Theme 7 – Services
This is the biggie.
As the Prime Minister said in a speech to the Institute of Public Administration:
I have always believed that, guided by clear direction from Ministers, the public service is at its best when it is getting on with the job of delivering the services Australians rely on and ensuring Governments can implement the policies they have been elected to deliver for the Australian people.
I want the APS to have a laser-like focus on serving these quiet Australians. Those who don’t meet here, and you never hear from largely, they’re too busy doing life. Australians who just get on with it, but who often feel their voice gets drowned out by the shoutier ones in the public sphere and parading through this place.
The creation of NDIS, and to a lesser degree the Gonski economic reforms have effectively concluded the reforms that have made Australia into a full social democracy.
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has, and probably will, illustrate there are limitations as to the effectiveness of the State providing services that may have been traditionally been performed by families on a programmatic basis.
The more efficient management of the Australian social democratic state will actually be quite an achievement for this government if it can be pulled off.