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?


Medi-Mess: Rational Federalism and Patient Cost-Sharing for Public Hospital Sustainability in Australia
David Gadiel, Jeremy Sammut
16 July 2017 | RR30

The latest attempt to ‘end the blame game’ between the state and federal governments over health funding was scuttled after state premiers rejected Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘tax swap’ federalism reform proposal at the April 2016 COAG meeting.  The intransigence of the states —and the…

Welfare reform beyond decades of dependence, ‘dole bludgers’ and ‘double dipping’
Simon Cowan
31 May 2017 | OP156

Recent attempts to reform welfare have focused on the wrong elements of the system. In some cases, advocating tightening eligibility for unemployment benefits and single mother payments while simultaneously increasing the scope and cost of family benefits and pension payments. Blaming ‘dole bludgers’ will never…

Fiscal Fiction: The Real Medicare Levy
Jeremy Sammut
07 May 2017 | RR27

The Medicare Levy is, and always has been, a fiscal fiction. The revenue raised by the levy is not ‘hypothecated’ – dedicated specifically to fund Medicare – but goes into general government revenue. Moreover, the amount of revenue raised by the levy accounts for a…

Reforming Social Housing: financing and tenant autonomy
Michael Potter
27 April 2017 | RR25

Around 400,000 Australians live in social housing, which includes public and community housing. This sector is ripe for reform, with many public housing dwellings failing adequacy standards, numerous tenants are dissatisfied and live in housing that is too small or too large for their needs.…

Real Choice for Ageing Australians: Achieving the Benefits of the Consumer-Directed Aged Care Reforms in the New Economy
Jeremy Sammut
09 April 2017 | RR24

The consumer-directed aged care (CDC) reforms are an important opportunity to showcase the benefits of market-based reforms to often sceptical and change-averse members of the public. Given the broader implications, this report warns that the CDC reforms could fall short of their promise and fail to…

Media & Commentary

Free market basics need to be re-learnt
Robert Carling
22 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

The twentieth century taught us enough about the limits to government intervention that the Australian energy market debacle — a failure of intervention, not of markets — could not happen.…

Hospital a Taj Mahal
Jessica Borbasi
15 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

This week saw the opening of Australia’s most expensive building  — the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. The Royal Adelaide saga has had its share of political controversy, dissension, threatened walk…

Last thing the government should do is buy a power station
Robert Carling
09 September 2017 | Australian Financial Review

One of the most common debates in economics is when should government intervene in markets? Government itself – judging by its recent actions – clearly thinks the answer should be…

Leadership means real promises on real policy
Simon Cowan
11 August 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Bill Shorten probably can’t believe his luck. The Liberal Party has spent the entire winter break focusing almost exclusively on issues that are terribly divisive for their party and base.…

Australians don't want handouts, they want more opportunities
Simon Cowan
06 August 2017 | Canberra Times

That Bill Shorten would put inequality at the centre of Labor’s campaign for election is hardly surprising. It’s not a new idea, but globally the Left has been unifying behind…