Depression a $5bn hit to productivity

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 2 : 11-May-20

Sydney University’s Brain & Mind Centre has carried out modelling on the national wealth impacts of COVID-19. The Centre’s modelling indicates up to $5 billion in productivity could be lost as a result of an impending mental health crisis linked to mass unemployment. Centre director Ian Hickie says Australia’s mental ‘wealth’ was four per cent of GDP prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and that Australia faces its biggest loss of that national wealth since the Great Depression if effective action is not taken as soon as possible.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY. BRAIN AND MIND RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Productivity lags France, US

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 13-Mar-20

Australia has the fifth-highest hours worked per person in the OECD, according to the Productivity Commission. However, it only ranks 16th among OECD nations when it comes to productivity. Productivity commissioner Michael Brennan notes all available evidence indicates higher productivity results in higher wages. Australia is more productive in sectors such as mining and construction when compared to the US, although its service industries are reckoned to be between 20 per cent and 60 per cent less than those in the US; however, this is in part due to the long distances that Australian service workers have to cover in their jobs.

CORPORATES
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION

Politics is killing productivity, says McKibbin

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Mar-20

Professor Warwick McKibbin of the Australian National University warns that productivity reform will not be achieved without support from both sides of politics. The former Reserve Bank board member has told a business summit that the political system is the biggest hurdle to achieving such reform. Meanwhile, Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott has called for an overhaul of the enterprise bargaining regime, arguing that it is no longer working.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Wages growth Labor’s priority

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 7 : 6-Dec-19

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers will urge the federal government to address issues such as low wages growth, underemployment and falling productivity in its mid-year economic outlook. He will tell a Chifley Research Centre conference that the economy is not working for ordinary Australians, while warning of the dangers associated with the rise of populism. Chalmers will also emphasise the need for Labor to reengage Australians in the ‘politics of progress’ in the wake of its election defeat in May.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CHIFLEY RESEARCH CENTRE

Low interest rates aren’t enough to boost wages growth: Economists

Original article by Euan Black
The New Daily – Page: Online : 4-Dec-19

With official interest rates left unchanged at 0.75 per cent on 3 December, some economists contend that further rate cuts are necessary for the Reserve Bank to deliver on its employment and inflation targets. However, others argue that interest rates are already so low that further cuts will not do not much to stimulate the economy. Instead, they contend that wage increases are needed, and this in turn requires measures to boost labour productivity. Growth in productivity has averaged 1.1 per cent annually over the last five years, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has estimated that lifting it to 1.5 per cent would boost incomes by $3,000 a year.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Construction the drag on productivity

Original article by David Marin-Guzman, Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 4-Dec-19

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s analysis shows that the construction sector was the biggest contributor to the decline in the nation’s labour productivity in 2018-19. The central bank’s Statement on Monetary Policy notes that this may be due to construction firms retaining idled workers in the hope that the residential development sector will rebound. However, the RBA’s analysis could weaken the CFMMEU’s recent proposal for annual pay rises of five per cent for New South Wales building workers.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS

Forget tax and spend, go for productivity: Albanese

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Nov-19

Labor leader Anthony Albanese will emphasise the need to prioritise increased productivity in a speech on 22 November. He will identify microeconomic reform, fiscal management, infrastructure, and investment in people through skills and training as the key policy initiatives to lift productivity. He will also argue that the legislated increase in the superannuation guarantee must proceed, as it will encourage super funds to invest in productivity-boosting infrastructure.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Grow business or be swamped: SEEK boss

Original article by Damon Kitney, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 2 : 29-Aug-19

SEEK CEO Andrew Bassat­ and Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayak have backed a recent call by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for Australian companies to lift productivity by reinvesting in their business rather than returning capital to shareholders. Bassat says Australian companies will be less competitive internationally if their level of capital investment continues to lag that of their global peers. However, Boral CEO Mike Kane is amongst the business leaders who have rejected Frydenberg’s comments.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, BORAL LIMITED – ASX BLD, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

Treasurer tells CEOs: get positive

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 26-Aug-19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will use a Business Council of Australia speech on 26 August to stress the need for the corporate sector to take action to boost productivity and wages. He will argue that lifting the nation’s average annual rate of productivity growth from about 1.1 per cent at present to 1.5 per cent would boost the economy by $70bn over the next decade and increase real wages by four per cent. Frydenberg will also urge business leaders to increase capital investment, including in new technologies, rather than focusing on returning capital to investors via share buybacks and special dividends.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Energy policy, IR changes urgent

Original article by Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 7 : 26-Jul-19

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox has backed comments by top bureaucrat Martin Parkinson on the nation’s declining productivity rate. Willox says that uncertainty regarding energy and carbon emissions policy has contributed to Australia’s underperformance in terms of productivity growth, and he has urged action on these issues. Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO James Pearson has in turn stressed the need for industrial relations reforms in order to lift productivity. Parkinson will shortly retire as the head of the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU