Government Spending

Governments spend taxpayers’ money on a wide range of programmes from education to defence and from welfare to infrastructure. Yet there can be too much of a good thing, and some government spending is just wasteful. How can we ensure that taxpayers are getting value for money?


A Fiscal Vaccine for COVID-19
Tony Makin
10 June 2020 | PP30

The fiscal response to the Covid-19 crisis ensures that the federal and state governments will experience large budget deficits and escalating public debt for the foreseeable future. Federal government debt could for instance conceivably double to over $1 trillion within a few years in the…

State Finances after the Pandemic
Robert Carling
28 May 2020 | PP29

The strength of Australia’s government finances is an important dimension of economic performance as it helps set the foundations for the delivery of public services, the flexibility governments need to respond to unexpected events and a stable fiscal environment for private sector investment. This strength…

Australia's Export Exposure to China's Coronavirus Epidemic
Salvatore Babones
18 February 2020 | AP7

This paper estimates the direct and immediate effects of the coronavirus epidemic on the revenues of Australia’s major export industries. It breaks down Australia’s exports to China across 18 major industry groups, including both goods and services exports. China’s coronavirus epidemic is likely to cost…

Reform, Retreat and Relinquishment: Lessons from historic state ownership of businesses in NSW
Percy Allan
24 September 2019 | PP23

In the 1980s and 90s, Australian governments agreed to an ambitious program of micro-economic reforms to lift industrial productivity and living standards that had languished in the 1970s and 1980s. Most economic attention on that era has focused on federal government initiatives such as further…

Millennials and Super: the case for voluntary superannuation
Simon Cowan
28 May 2019 | PP20

Superannuation is not a good deal for everyone. As a result of house prices increases, it has become much harder to save for a deposit and, as a result, homeownership percentages among younger workers have fallen. Superannuation, particularly future increases in the guarantee rate, is…

Media & Commentary

The ? recovery
Robert Carling
10 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

Living standards, livelihoods and business survival are at stake as the pandemic — and government responses to it — wreak economic havoc. This is why there is so much focus…

Resuscitate near-flatline economy
Jeff Bennett, Tony Makin, Michael Potter
10 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

The performance of the economy was weak before Covid-19, and now it is perilously close to flat-lining. In particular, business investment is heading towards record low levels as a share…

Call time on emergency measures
Glenn Fahey
03 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

There’s a time and place for emergency income support through the pandemic. But the usefulness of the unprecedented — but nonetheless unsustainable — emergency measures is rapidly expiring. New data…

JobKeeper – or RecoveryPreventer?
Glenn Fahey
01 July 2020 | Spectator

Emergency income support has a time and place in buoying Australians through the pandemic. But the usefulness of the unprecedented — but nonetheless unsustainable — emergency measures is very quickly…

Sport grants always political
Simon Cowan
24 January 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has revealed that the federal government handed out tens of millions of dollars in community sports infrastructure grants ostensibly for political purposes. This has…