Stay-at-home orders and the economic crisis have increased the burden of energy costs on lower-income Australians. Poor housing quality and unequal access to home energy efficiency are hurting our most vulnerable households. With the next stage of the national recovery program expected to include cash grants for home renovation, now is the time to turn to housing retrofits that support health and well-being as well as boost jobs.
Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic increases households’ energy consumption and costs. As one in ten Australians might lose their jobs, the pandemic is adding to the energy hardship of people who were already struggling to pay their bills.
The other …
Many Australians have welcomed the gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions. We can now catch up with friends and family in small numbers, and get out and about a little more than we’ve been able to for a couple of months.
All being well, restrictions will continue to be lifted in the weeks and months to come, allowing us slowly to return to some kind of “normal”.
This is good news for the economy and employment, and will hopefully help ease the high levels of distress and mental health problems our community has been experiencing during the pandemic.
For some people, however, the idea of reconnecting with the outside world may provoke other anxieties.
Almost every threat to modern humanity can be traced simply to our out-of-control population growth (think about arable land going to housing; continued growth in demand for petroleum fuels). Is anything being done to contain population growth on a national and international scale?
The question of population is more complex that it may seem – in the context of climate ch…
Australian economists overwhelmingly back social distancing measures that slow the spread of coronavirus over the alternative of easing restrictions and allowing the spread of the disease to pick up.
But a significant minority, 9 of the 47 leading economists polled in the first of a series of monthly surveys, say they would support an easing of restrictions even if it did allow the spread to accelerate.
The Economic Society of Australia-Conversation monthly poll will build on national polls conducted by the Economic Society, initially in conjunction with Monash University, since 2015.
The economists chosen to take part are Australia’s leaders in fields including microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic modelling…
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some countries have consistently received accolades for their rapid, coordinated responses, while others have been roundly condemned as laggards.
Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Jordan and the Republic of Georgia were able to “flatten” the curve and limit the outbreak. By contrast Spain, Italy and the U.S. have struggled to contain the virus’s spread.
What do the countries that have dealt effectively with COVID-19 have in common?
Many factors have likely contributed to their success, including preexisting health systems, bureaucratic agility and the decision to act early.
Equally important, in my v…
The Bread Famine and the Pawnbroker, Brothers Lesueur (18th century) When our reliance on supermarkets is seriously disrupted – for example, by spikes in demand due to panic buying or the flooding of distribution centres – we are left with few alternatives. Supermarkets are central to our everyday lives, but they have also become symbols of our vulnerability in times of disruption.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused us to rethink many things we took for granted. This includes the plentiful supply of a great variety of food at relatively stable prices in our supermarkets.
Victoria has committed A$45 million under which international students could be eligible for relief payments of up to $1,100, co-contributed by Victorian universities. The ACT has committed A$450,000 to support vulnerable people on temporary visas and international students without income due to COVID-19.
The Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia all have varying amounts of help available for international students – whether it be one-off payments, free mental health support or help with food and shelter.
Amidst a global pandemic, some people are starting to dream big about infrastructure projects to help get Australia moving again. The decades-old dream of an Australian fast train is back in the headlines. But, as alluring as it sounds, the federal opposition’s idea for a bullet train from Melbourne to Brisbane is not a good use of a generation’s worth of infrastructure spending.
After the coronavirus crisis, there may be good reasons to fast-track infrastructure to create jobs and stimulate the economy. But it remains as important as ever that funding go only to worthy projects. A bullet train does not fit the bill.
Governments are being asked to do the near impossible: to deliver on both health and the economy. In many circumstances doing both at the same time would be completely impossible. But fortunately in Australia we have separate instruments we can use to target separate goals.
The health objective is to minimise the number of lives lost and keep the spread of the virus low enough to not overwhelm the health care system. Until there is a vaccine we will need to keep in place many of the current restrictions, including bans on large gatherings and international travel.
The economic objective can be assisted by relaxing other restrictions, such as those on the maximum numbe…
The coronavirus pandemic is keeping us at home due to widespread unemployment, school closures and social distancing. This has already led to concerns about an upsurge in domestic and family violence.
But women with a disability, particularly those with an intellectual disability, are at even greater risk of gender-based violence, affecting not only them but their families.
We knew it would be bad. But we’d hoped it wouldn’t be quite this bad.
Over the past few weeks, we at Grattan Institute have been working on ways to estimate the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on jobs in Australia.
It’s a complex task, with few obvious precedents.
The results, detailed in our new working paper, Shutdown: estimating the COVID-19 employment shock, are worrying.
Our estimate is that between a sixth and a quarter of Australia’s workforce is likely to be out of work because of the COVID-19 shutdown and social distancing.
Even before the coronavirus arrived to turn life upside down and trigger a global infodemic, social media platforms were under growing pressure to curb the spread of misinformation.
Last year, Facebook cofounder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg called for new rules to address “harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability”.
Now, amid a rapidly evolving pandemic, when more people than ever are using social media for news and information, it is more crucial than ever that people can trust this content.
Imagine, if you can, what it’s like to make decisions on which the lives of tens of thousands of other people depend. If you get things wrong, or delay deciding, they die.
Your decisions affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, resulting in huge economic disruption, mass layoffs and business closures. Imagine you must act quickly, without having complete certainty your decisions will achieve what you hope.
Now imagine that turning your decisions into effective action depends on winning the support of millions of people.
There are now nearly 300 cases of COVID-19 linked to passengers who disembarked from the Ruby Princess cruise ship without any health checks from authorities.
Amid public condemnation, video of travellers squashed together in the immigration queue at Sydney airport made the rounds last week on social media.
Border security at both airports and cruise terminals primarily falls under the purview of the Australian Border Force (ABF). Both episodes have raised critical questions about the management of our border security and who exactly is responsible for what during the coronavirus crisis.
Overlapping responsibilities at the border
The first thing to talk about here is Australia’s federal system and the “national cabinet” of C…