Productivity Commission says working smarter can improve life


Whereas common hours labored had fallen by about 10 per cent, or 4 hours, over the identical interval, common hours labored in different wealthy nations had fallen much more. In some nations akin to Norway and Denmark, hours labored have fallen by 1 / 4 however their productiveness has grown greater than Australia’s.

The mixture of extra folks working longer hours than in different international locations meant GDP per capita had remained comparatively excessive.

Elevated productiveness over the previous 120 years has lifted Australians’ dwelling circumstances. In 1901, it took 185 working hours to afford a double mattress and mattress in comparison with simply 18 hours in 2019. In more moderen years, the price of smartphones has tumbled whereas their high quality has soared.

In accordance with the fee, discovering methods to raise productiveness wouldn’t solely make Australians higher off, however higher rested.

If the nation’s labour productiveness degree was the identical as Belgium’s, Australians may scale back the period of time spent at work by 4 hours every week and not using a fall in earnings.

In accordance with the fee, this could ship Australians a “leisure dividend” of 1 much less day every week of labor.

Productivity Commission chair Michael Brennan says finding ways to boost productivity will make Australians better off.

Productiveness Fee chair Michael Brennan says discovering methods to spice up productiveness will make Australians higher off.Credit score:Louie Douvis

If Australia had the identical productiveness ranges as Belgium however folks solely marginally decreased their working week, they might get an additional hour every week of leisure whereas growing GDP per capita by 25 per cent.

Fee chair Michael Brennan stated the nation needed to search for new methods to drive productiveness progress, together with a assessment of the nation’s coverage levers and industries into which assets ought to be concentrated.

“Productiveness progress is important to deal with the nation’s financial challenges, together with rising cost-of-living pressures, however it isn’t assured,” he stated.


“These days, enhancements in service high quality and the affect modern new services have on folks’s lives matter most.

“Nevertheless, the overarching precept of productiveness – that we purpose to work smarter, not tougher or longer – is as vital as ever.”

Productiveness historically describes the variety of items and providers that may be generated from inputs akin to machines and staff. It additionally covers the development within the high quality of products and providers over time.

In accordance with the fee, which in its 2017 Shifting the Dial report set out a spread of proposals to spice up productiveness, little has modified over the previous 5 years.

The 2017 report discovered adjustments in schooling and well being, competitors within the pharmacy sector, a worth on carbon emissions, tax reform and car consumer costs may ship a $140 billion enhance to the financial system over 20 years.

“Nevertheless, total the dial has but to be shifted by authorities,” its newest report discovered.

The fee will launch dialogue papers over the approaching months on particular areas the place it believes there may be scope for main productiveness positive aspects. They may cowl the usage of knowledge, schooling and expertise, the diffusion of innovation throughout the financial system and impediments to enterprise funding that may also embrace decarbonisation.

Minimize via the noise of federal politics with information, views and knowledgeable evaluation from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can signal as much as our weekly Inside Politics e-newsletter right here.

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