The Write Direction: Planning our future

LAST month the Australian Government completed its look into our future with the Intergenerational Report delivered by the Treasurer.

From the information it delivered, it immediately reminded me of an ancient African Proverb which says, “The sheep will spend its entire life fearing the wolf, only to be eaten by the shepherd.”

So be aware of the report and the remarks of Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers, who went on to say that the report will not trigger an overhaul of the Government’s spending or its taxation policy.

His preferred action was to take “bite-sized “incisions from the edges of the budget to focus on growing productivity in order to ward off the economic woe that he sees eventuating in our future.

Australia’s present fertility rate is below the replacement rate of 2.1 babies per woman, meaning the median or average age of Australians will be 4.6 years older than now in 2063 – thus becoming 43.1 years old.

Because our Government is locked into the theory that growth is the only way to balance our economy into the future, they will embark upon an expansion of immigration in order to increase our population to their figure of 40.5 million by 2063.

They go on to say that a smaller percentage of Australians will be in work and many more will need to depend on health and care services.

It means that Australia’s trend away from manual industries must move towards a care economy and this trend will only increase in time.

The forecast is that the care and support workforce will need to double by 2050 in order to meet the future demand and they see this as a planning challenge.

The Treasurer went on to suggest that wages and the Government’s ability to maintain these services will depend on continuous productivity growth, but this has stagnated for decades.

A lot of our future prospects will depend on the growth of technology, as the expectation is that those working will be doing so for less hours per week.

The other hope is that Australia becomes a leading exporter of critical minerals such as lithium, nickel, zinc, bauxite and other minerals that are essential for renewable technologies.

These minerals Australia has in abundance, but we must never forget the damaging effect these might have on our environment.

With the continuing deficits (losses) becoming the norm for running the country and for starting new mining ventures etc, this can only increase our national debt in the future, now said to be in the order of $3 trillion.

So, the cost of servicing that debt will be a major stumbling block to be encountered by our economy.

An interesting conclusion might be provided by the world’s best investor, Warren Buffett, when he publicly stated that he “could end the deficit in five minutes”.

“You just pass a law that says anytime there is a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of parliament are ineligible for re-election,” he said.


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