OECD Economic Surveys: Australia

English
Frequency
Every 18 months
ISSN: 
1999-0146 (online)
ISSN: 
1995-3089 (print)
DOI: 
10.1787/19990146
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Australian economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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OECD Economic Surveys: Australia 2017

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Author(s):
OECD
02 Mar 2017
Pages:
140
ISBN:
9789264271500 (PDF) ; 9789264271517 (EPUB) ;9789264271494(print)
DOI: 
10.1787/eco_surveys-aus-2017-en

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Australia’s economy has enjoyed considerable success in recent decades, reflecting strong macroeconomic policy, structural reform and the long commodity boom. Living standards and well-being are generally high, though challenges remain in gender gaps and in GHG emissions. The economy is now rebalancing following the end of the commodity boom, supported by an accommodative macroeconomic stance and currency depreciation. The strengthening non-mining sector is projected to support output growth and spur further reductions in unemployment. Low interest rates have supported aggregate demand but are ramping up investor risk taking and putting pressure on the housing market.
Improving competition and other framework conditions that influence the absorption and development of innovation are key for restoring productivity growth. Innovation requires labour and capital markets that facilitate new business models. Productivity growth could be boosted through stronger collaboration between business and research sectors in R&D activity.   
Australia’s adjustment to the end of the commodity boom has not been painless. Unemployment has risen, and inequality is rising. In addition, large socioeconomic gaps between Australia's indigenous community and the rest of the population remain. Developing innovation-related skills will be important for the underprivileged and those displaced by economic restructuring and can help reduce gender wage gaps.

SPECIAL FEATURES: INNOVATION-DRIVEN PRODUCTIVITY; BOOSTING R&D OUTCOMES

  
 

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  • Basic statistics of Australia

    This Survey is published on the responsibility of the Economic and Development Review Committee (EDRC) of the OECD, which is charged with the examination of the economic situation of member countries. The economic situation and policies of Australia were reviewed by the Committee on the 12th of December, 2016. The draft report was then revised in the light of the discussions and given final approval as the agreed report of the whole Committee on the 3rd of January, 2017.The Secretariat’s draft report was prepared for the Committee by Philip Hemmings and Vassiliki Koutsogeorgopoulou under the supervision of Piritta Sorsa. Statistical research analysis was provided by Taejin Park. Administrative assistance was provided by Anthony Bolton and Brigitte Beyeler.The previous Survey of Australia was issued in December 2014.

  • Acronyms
  • Executive summary
  • Assessment and recommendations
  • Follow-up to previous OECD policy recommendations

    This annex reviews action taken on recommendations from previous Surveys. They cover macroeconomic and structural policy priorities. Each recommendation is followed by a note of actions taken since the December 2014 Survey. Recommendations that are new in this Survey are listed in the relevant chapter.

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    • Creating good conditions for innovation-driven productivity gains

      Innovation is key to boosting Australia’s productivity and inclusiveness. This chapter examines the policies that create good conditions for innovation, not only in science and technology but also wider forms, such as business-model innovation. Competition and flexible markets are particularly important in the Australian context. Also there is room to improve the environment for firm entry and exit, and intellectual property arrangements. However, the returns to public spending on Australia’s numerous innovation-related SME support schemes are uncertain. Federal and state governments are taking a positive approach to the new wave of disruptive service-sector innovations, such as those underway in personal transport, accommodation, legal and financial services. Harnessing the full benefits of today's innovation requires household and business have access to high-speed ICT; and there is room for improvement on this front in Australia. In education, Australia’s STEM-oriented strategy could be strengthened. Innovation in public-services should receive considerable attention as this can raise aggregate productivity and improve living standards.

    • Boosting R&D outcomes

      R&D activity can play a central role in raising productivity. Australia compares well in terms of research excellence. However, there is scope for better translation of publicly funded research into commercial outcomes. Strengthening incentives for collaborative research is essential. A simpler funding system for university research that provides sharper and more transparent incentives for research partnerships is important in this regard. Research-business linkages would also be boosted by more effective programmes encouraging business to collaborate, measures promoting greater mobility of researchers between the two sectors, and steps to ensure that intellectual property arrangements are not a barrier to knowledge. In Australia financial support for encouraging business innovation relies mostly on an R&D tax incentive; raising additionality and reducing compliance costs would enhance the effectiveness of the scheme. Maximising the benefits from public investment in research further hinges upon a well-coordinated science, research and innovation system through a whole-of-government approach and consolidating certain programmes. Reform initiatives underway, notably those in the National Innovation and Science Agenda, are welcome.

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