The Latest at McKell: February 2024.

New thinking on the cost of living; an address from the Treasurer; helping workers in regional Queensland; and a new project addressing illegal imports. Here’s the latest from Mckell.

As we enter 2024, confronting the cost of living crisis has taken center stage in our political and public policy debate. 

McKell has started the year with a focus on injecting constructive, practical and progressive ideas into the public debate. 

Our Budget Submission offered six ideas aimed at easing cost of living burdens 

McKell’s 2024/5 Budget Submission offers six ideas for the Commonwealth to consider in the run up to this year’s Federal Budget to further ease cost of living pressures. 

While we’ve seen some positive signs with inflation falling, cost of living pressures remain. Retail sales data has shown just how much people are feeling the pinch. 

In this context, McKell has advanced six practical ideas for the Albanese Government to consider — ideas such as further toll road relief, cheap emergency loans, HELP changes, and more, all aimed at augmenting existing measures like energy bill relief and cheaper medicines. 

Read more about our six-point plan here 

We argued for cost of living relief in the Daily Telegraph

Over the summer, Ed Cavanough appeared in the Daily Telegraph making the case for one of these ideas — a low interest emergency loan program, designed to serve as an alternative to predatory payday lenders:

We forecast the year ahead on ‘Socially Democratic’

Ed also teamed up with McKell Victoria’s Beck Thistleton on the Socially Democratic podcast discuss the Institute’s work on cost of living — and to forecast the year ahead in Australia’s national debate as we eye the next Federal Election. 

McKell is backing in changes to Stage 3 

On 25 January, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced changes to the Stage 3 tax cuts, which will now deliver a fairer tax cut for all Australian tax payers. McKell backs the changes because they deliver more for those doing it the toughest, and congratulate the many voices that have been campaigning for these changes. Ed Cavanough spoke to the Auistralian Financial Review, the ABC, and Women’s Agenda to explain why the changes are better for everyone. 

Treasurer Jim Chalmers joined us in Brisbane

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Just days after the Stage 3 changes were made, McKell commenced its 2024 events series with an address from Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers in Brisbane.  

The Treasurer made the economic case for the tax changes, criticising those who claim tax reform only counts if it benefits those already doing well. 

Read more about the Treasurer’s speech in the Sydney Morning Herald. 

The substantive work for long-term reform continues: 

This month, we also published a new report  — Security Net: Fortifying Australia from IUU Imports.

The prevalence of illegal, unregulated and unreported seafood products in Australia is a major concern. While Australia’s import protections are strong, there is a need to strengthen the oversight of imported seafood to better protect consumers, retailers, and the workers around the world sourcing the product. 

Our latest release, Security Net: Fortifying Australia from IUU Imports, sponsored by Oceans Five, argues for a stronger framework to ensure Australia isn’t importing IUU seafood products. 

Read more about the project here. 

We commenced an on-the-ground project exploring a just transition for miners. 

And we were on the ground in Mt Isa, commencing a new project identifying solutions to the workforce of the Glencore mine in Mt Isa.

The announced closure of the mine has shocked the community and the state. 

McKell is working with the local council and Queensland Government to identify solutions to ensure those that are affected will be supported.

And we welcomed policy wins in Canberra.

We were pleased to see the passage of the second instalment of the Closing the Loopholes Bill in Federal Parliament. The bill includes a number of significant protections for working people. In particular, we welcome the new protections for gig workers. McKell has been advocating strongly in partnership with the TWU and TEACHO, for the changes that will now become law.

Our survey of 1000 gig workers found the case for more protections was overwhelmingly supported by workers.


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