The Intergenerational Report 4 (IGR4) tells us nothing about intergenerational change. Rather IGR4 assumes 2055 will be just like 2015 with an older population and a few electric cars buzzing around. [PAUSE] Come on, Really? Remember 1975? No computers, no internet, no mobile phones, no Chinese economic revolution, Fixed $AUD, no RBA inflation targets, no ASX, no Futures Exchange…
In 2015 Australia hasn’t cottoned on to the global services boom and offshoring. International investment, monopolies and oligopolies abound in airport ownership, energy, retailing, communications, and aviation. Australia wages and housing prices are multiples of our major trading partners including the USA. Are we really assuming that one of the most open economies in the world will not be forced to deregulate labour markets in the next 40 years? The Asian middle classes able to ‘consume’ international travel, overseas education and Australian lifestyle will increase by over 800 million people by 2030. Are we planning to build a fence?
The IGR is an exercise to stop Australians thinking too much about the future we want. The future of Australia is not in the hands of the ‘Grey’ army as Mr. Hockey put it, but remains firmly with Big Brother, the ‘Grey’ coats in Treasury. The Vernon Committee review of the Australian Economy in 1965 (the first post war review) identified the need to wrest the job of building a new Australia away from Treasury. It also argued Australia’s net overseas migration should be set at 1% of population per annum not reduced to 0.5% as indicated in IGR4. Treasury and the then Prime Minister Bob Menzies scathed that thinking and have resisted institutional change successfully to 2015.
Intergenerational Reports should not be prepared by the public sector. They should be visionary not political. Intergenerational Reports should tell us what we need to know so to set up the future for our kids. IGR’s should confront state bureaucracies and tell us about the institutional change we need to secure and attain the future we want for our kids. It’s time for real intergenerational changes outside the clutches of Big Brother.