mckell@mckellinstitute.org.au

Research & News

  • Getting us there: Funding the Transport Infrastructure of Tomorrow

    This report identifies a number of innovative funding and financing mechanisms that can help deliver the transport infrastructure of tomorrow.

    Click here for the full report

  • Funding Rare Disease Therapies in Australia

    This report explains how we can reform our system to bring better health care to more Australians suffering from rare diseases.

    Click here for the full report

  • THE SUCCESS OF REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNANCE ON SUPERANNUATION BOARDS

    This Report has argued the internal (non-market) governance of superannuation funds in Australia is a reform area likely to have a substantial impact upon the long-term performance of the superannuation sector.

    Click here for the full report

  • GIVING THE WEST THE BEST: WHY WESTERN SYDNEY NEEDS ITS OWN AIRPORT

    Badgerys Creek airport has the potential to deliver a large boost in jobs and economic growth right across Western Sydney, but only if designed well.

    Click here for the full report

  • Meeting the shortfall: How clubs can provide affordable social services in our communities

    This report identifies a number of low-cost policy changes that could be implemented to help facilitate a new wave of investment into social services by the NSW clubs industry.

    Click here for the full report

  • Superfast broadband: The future is in your hands

    This report assesses new opportunities for the NBN. In particular, we examine how the growth of mobile services has transformed the telecommunications industry and how NBN has the potential to dramatically improve mobile telecommunications.

    Click here for the full report
  • Understanding Productivity – Australia’s Choice

    This report provides a number of practical recommendations aimed at boosting Australia’s productivity growth.

    Click here for the full report
  • The Case for a National Portable Long Service Leave Scheme

    This report provides a comprehensive framework for the establishment of a National Portable Long Service Scheme in Australia.

    Click here for the full report
  • Homes for all: A McKell Institute Report by Dr Tim Williams and Sean Macken

    This report outlines 40 practical recommendations aimed at making housing in Australia and New South Wales.

    Click here for the full report

Nothing to gain, plenty to lose: Why the government, households and businesses could end up paying a high price for electricity privatisation

In June 2014, the NSW Government announced the sale of the state’s Transmission and Distribution assets. Similar proposals have been mooted by past governments and this report considers the likely outcomes associated with the sale. In particular, it addresses two arguments:

The assertion that a privatised T&D network will operate more efficiently than the current regime, translating into lower electricity costs for consumers and businesses; and

The argument that the sale of the assets represents a fiscally responsible move, with the NSW Government using the proceeds to partially fund its planned major infrastructure projects.

This report has undertaken an empirical, data driven approach to testing these arguments. The evidence found that the proposal to privatise the state’s electricity assets would not improve the efficiency of the entities involved, would not lower costs for business or consumers and could in fact increase them, and would not improve the broader budget position. Critically, the evidence suggests that the NSW Government’s current asset recycling strategy could damage the state’s credit rating in the future as the budget is confronted with a more challenging economic climate.

Read the full report here

Read the press release here

Getting us there: Funding the Transport Infrastructure of Tomorrow

One of the key challenges facing policymakers is the question of how to fund new transport infrastructure in an increasingly fiscally restrained environment.

Infrastructure expenditure is already failing to keep up with community expectations, and population growth is driving demand for new services. Meanwhile, state governments are increasingly restricted by the need to ensure that their credit ratings remain strong.

As government continues to balance growing costs and proportionally declining revenue, competition for scare budget dollars will increase and infrastructure investments will be increasingly judged on their long term financial cost to government.

To ensure that vital new transport infrastructure is not left off the table in future government budgets, this report has examined a number of options available for boosting the revenue streams associated with currently cost-inhibitive infrastructure classes. Click here for the full report

Funding Rare Disease Therapies in Australia

Australia’s system for funding new therapies that treat rare diseases is in need of reform.

In the last 4 years only two new therapies have been approved under Australia’s current program for rare disease therapies. Aside from these products, no new treatments for rare disease have successfully navigated the entire process for funding rare disease therapies since the reforms in 2010. Australians are generally waiting from 2 to 4 years longer for access to rare disease therapies available in comparable countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Some medications remain unavailable 8 years after becoming available overseas.

The Therapeutic Goods Act includes a limit of 2,000 patients for the registration of orphan drugs – the equivalent of approximately 1 patient in 10,000 persons. This definition captures fewer rare diseases than in comparable countries. In the United States the definition is 1 in 1,500, in Canada and the European Union it is 1 in 2,000 and in South Korea it is 1 in 2,500.

This report explains how we can reform our system to bring better health care to more Australians suffering from rare diseases. Click here for the full report

12 Months in Review, Spring 2014

The McKell Institute is fast approaching its third year of operation, demonstrating not just its sustainability as an organisation but also an ability to thrive. Over the past twelve months, we have expanded our policy scope, releasing major reports into the funding and financing of transport infrastructure, the success of industry superannuation funds, the risks of hospital privatisation, how clubs can help provide affordable social services to the community, why an architectural competition for Badgerys Creek would benefit Western Sydney, and the impact of penalty rate cuts on regional NSW.

We have also hosted a number of high profile policy events with industry leaders and politicians from across the political spectrum, whilst also maintaining a prominent presence in the media. Click here for the full report

The Economic Impact of Penalty Rate Cuts on Rural NSW

In this latest discussion paper, the McKell Institute briefly overviews the history of penalty rates in Australia and gives a snapshot of the contemporary debate on the topic. Then, focusing on the retail sector it looks at proposals aimed at reducing or removing penalty rates all together. As an important addition to the public debate on the subject it examines and quantifies the disproportionate impact that rural and regional centres in NSW will endure as a result of these changes.

These effects would be felt throughout the nation by wage earning employees, but felt disproportionately in rural and regional NSW. The pay gap between city and country that currently sits at $5,300 per worker would be exacerbated by this change.

The report accurately identifies the extent that businesses owned outside those regional centres (generally in Sydney and Melbourne) will profit at the expense of regional workers. More important are the second line impacts that will be felt when the employee has less money to spend locally, leading to decreased revenue and increasing the divide between the city and the country. Click here for the full report

THE SUCCESS OF REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNANCE ON SUPERANNUATION BOARDS

Australia’s superannuation system has transformed the way Australians think about their retirement. But as the size of the funds increase there is additional scrutiny surrounding the governance structures in place to administer the savings of members. The new Federal Government has kick-started the debate with its discussion paper: Better regulation and governance, enhanced transparency and improved competition in superannuation. It has been simultaneously welcomed and condemned, and while its motivations have been questioned there is now more than ever a focus on the governance on these massive pools of savings. Click here for the full report

Giving the West the Best: Why Western Sydney needs its own airport

Every year, more and more people choose to call Western Sydney home. Western Sydney currently has a population of over two million people, making it roughly the same size as Brisbane. By the mid-2030s, this will grow to three million people, and Western Sydney will be home to one in every two Sydneysiders. As the population of Western Sydney continues to grow, we need to make sure that we’re also growing the number of jobs available to people who live in the local area. To properly cater for population growth, Western Sydney is expected to need an additional 384,000 new jobs by 2036.A Western Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek will be a huge contributor to providing these jobs for Western Sydney residents, delivering approximately 35,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2035, almost one tenth of what will be required. Click here for the full report

Meeting the shortfall: How clubs can provide affordable social services in our communities

The McKell Institute has released a groundbreaking report into how registered clubs can provide affordable child care and aged care services to NSW residents. In Australia, roughly 850 new babies are born every single day, a rate that is 25% higher than one decade ago. This growth in new births is expected to increase, eventually reaching 1260 a day by 2061. We also know that the over 85 age group is now Australia’s fastest growing demographic. Over the next two decades, there will be a 1.5 million increase in the number of Australians aged 85 and above. The growth in these two demographics will underpin a substantial increase in demand for aged care and child care services. As this occurs, the proportion of working age to non-working age Australians is expected to shrink. The policy challenge for government will be how it deals with this increase in demand for services at the same time that revenue growth is shrinking. This report identifies a number of low-cost policy changes that could be implemented to help facilitate a new wave of investment into social services by the NSW clubs industry. Click here for the full report

12 Months in Review, Spring 2013

The McKell Institute has continued to grow since our launch in April 2012, with the past 12 months seeing the release of a series of policy reports and hosting numerous policy addresses and discussions.

Over the past 12 months, The McKell Institute has released reports into the development of a portable long service leave, productivity reform, and a policy proposal for super fast broadband in Australia.

We have also hosted a number of high profile policy events with industry leaders and politicians from across the political spectrum, whilst also maintaining a prominent presence in the media. Notable speakers include former Prime Minister The Hon. Bob Hawke MP, NSW Treasurer Mike Baird, Former NSW Premier The Hon. Nick Greiner MP, Federal Finance Minister The Hon. Penny Wong MP, and Federal Health Minister The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP. Click here for the full report

Superfast broadband: The future is in your hands

The National Broadband Network (NBN) will deliver a comprehensive upgrade to Australia’s national broadband infrastructure. This will be of profound importance to Australia’s long-term productivity agenda. This paper assesses new opportunities for the NBN. In particular, we examine how the growth of mobile services has transformed the telecommunications industry and how NBN has the potential to dramatically improve mobile telecommunications. It makes the case that the NBN, far from becoming redundant due to the explosion in mobile internet access, is in fact crucial to delivering better mobile services to both regional and urban areas without any significant increases in cost. It argues that the recent development of small mobile base stations (able to be placed on lampposts for example), connected to the NBN, can significantly increase and improve mobile coverage in both urban and regional Australia. This has the potential to radically reshape Australia’s economic and social future. Click here for the full report

Understanding Productivity – Australia’s Choice

Australia’s productivity performance over the last decade has slipped. Our commodity boom and terms of trade boost have masked that performance. Given the likelihood that Australia’s terms of trade will decline as the commodity price cycle runs its course, the need to improve Australia’s medium and long-term productivity performance becomes even more pressing if we are to continue to raise living standards in our nation. Understanding Productivity – Australia’s Choice examines Australia’s productivity slowdown more broadly while also investigating the industry specific factors that have contributed to a decline in Multi-Factor Productivity. This report provides a number of practical recommendations aimed at boosting Australia’s productivity growth. We can do much better than we currently are – and Understanding Productivity provides a road map for how to achieve it. Click here for the full report

12 Months in Review, Spring 2012

The McKell Institute was launched in April 2012 with the goal of developing practical policy proposals that would contribute to a fairer and more prosperous community for future generations.

Over the past 12 months, The McKell Institute has cemented its place as a prominent voice for progressive policy analysis in Australia. We have completed a number of landmark reports into housing affordability and an economic analysis of the impact of retail trading deregulation.

We have also hosted a number of high profile policy events with industry leaders and politicians from across the political spectrum, whilst also maintaining a prominent presence in the media. The Institute was also addressed by Prime Minister The Hon. Julia. Gillard MP who spoke to McKell members about the importance of carbon pricing as a mechanism for tackling climate change. Click here for the full report

The Case for a National Portable Long Service Leave Scheme

The McKell Institute and Macquarie University have released a major report on the case for a National Portable Long Service Leave Scheme in Australia. Long Service Leave is a basic workplace entitlement. While the length of leave and qualification periods vary, the general entitlement a worker receives is two months leave after ten years continuous service with the same employer. However, due to the changing nature of the labour market only 1 in 4 Australian workers stay with the same employer for 10 years. That means that 75% of working Australians don’t receive Long Service Leave. Now more than ever before Australian workers are struggling to balance their work commitments with their family and other life commitments. Recent studies have shown that over 50% of employees would rather have extra leave than take an equivalent pay rise. This report provides the most comprehensive framework for the establishment of a National Portable Long Service Scheme ever produced in Australia. Click here for the full report

Does our spending Increase? The relationship between trading restrictions and retail turnover

The recent review into Shop Trading Provisions in New South Wales and the subsequent proposal by the New South Wales Government to remove retail trading restrictions on Boxing Day has sparked heated debate.

Proponents of the current trading provisions argue that New South Wales has got the balance right in restricting trading on a limited number of days. The status quo allows retail employees time to spend with their family and friends on significant national days of reflection, without imposing onerous restrictions which would impact on sales or the profitability of retail businesses. Opponents of the current trading provisions argue that removing trading restrictions is necessary to provide a boost to the struggling retail sector, which will allow retail stores to create additional employment opportunities while also streamlining and simplifying complex trading provisions.

This paper analyses the Victorian experience of Easter Sunday retail trading to determine if there is evidence that allowing shops to trade on previously restricted days provides a boost to overall retail sales. Click here for the full report

Homes for all: A McKell Institute Report by Dr Tim Williams and Sean Macken

Australians have long embraced the traditional housing career of working hard, saving a deposit, and buying a home. But increasingly for too many Australians, the realisation of the dream of home ownership has slipped beyond their grasp. Homes for All – The 40 things we can do to improve supply and affordability provides practical recommendations aimed at making housing affordable. Collectively these recommendations amount to a program that will see an end to a business as usual approach in housing – an approach which has failed the homeless, tenants, those who want to get into home ownership, first time buyers and many existing home owners. We can do much better than business as usual – and Homes for All provides a road map for how to achieve it. Click here for the full report