by Alan Thornhill
Australians have higher incomes, and longer life expectancy than they had 10 years ago.
We are also better educated now.
However the number of threatened plants and animals has increased over the last ten years.
All this emerged in a study the Australian Bureau of Statistics undertook to help us decide if we are really better off now than we were then.
The results were published today in the latest issue of the Bureau’s Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP).
The Bureau calls its publication “a collection of key indicators.”
So what are they?
Well, the Bureau tells us that a girl born in 2010 can expect to reach 84 years of age.
It also calculates that a boy, born then, can expect to live to 79.5 years.
And “just over half of all Australians think their health is excellent or very good,” the Bureau says.
Sue Taylor, the Bureau’s Director of Social and Progress Reporting, says the latest MAP study also found that education and employment are improving.
“In 2011, 64 per cent of 25 to 64 years olds held a vocational or higher education qualification,” Ms Taylor said.
That compares with 53 per cent in 2001.
Ms Taylor said, too, that: “The annual average unemployment rate declined from 6.8 per cent to 5.1 per cent between 2001 and 2011.”
“And the average household weekly income of low and middle income households rose between 2000 and 2010,” she said.
However, the results were is not all good news.
The study also showed, for example, that both productivity and environmental indicators have declined.
Our most recent productivity cycle showed a fall of 0.8 per cent, Ms Taylor said.
“The ABS also found that the number of threatened plants and animals has increased over this time, as did total net greenhouse gas emissions,” she added.
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by Alan Thornhill
With a population of less that 23 million, Australia has regained its place as the world’s 15th biggest economy.
The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said this achievement, noted by the International Monetary Fund, had been accompanied by another accolade.
In its World Economic Outlook, the IMF had also reaffirmed the strength of Australia’s economic fundamentals, in the face of a weaker global recovery.
Mr Swan said the Australian economy had – once again – been “forecast to outperform every major advanced economy over this year and the next.”
On a population basis, Australia takes a much more modest 51st place in the IMF’s world rankings.
So regaining that much higher place, in terms of economic clout is, in Mr Swan’s words, “a remarkable achievement.”
He said it reflects “the Australian community’s hard work and resilience, as well as the Government’s sound economic management, during a time of global economic upheaval.”
Australia last held 12th place in world economic rankings back in 1996.
But: “since 2007, Australia’s economy has surpassed the economies of South Korea, Mexico and now Spain,” Mr Swan said.
“The Australian economy has now recorded 21 consecutive years of growth, a record unmatched by any other advanced economy over this period,” the Treasurer added.
Mr Swan also noted that the IMF has revised down its global growth forecasts, with the global economy expected to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2012, down from 3.5 per cent in its July update.
He said the IMF had also warned of a fresh risk ahead.
This was the threat of the excessive fiscal tightening in the Unites States at the end of this year.
Mr Swan said that if this threat is not averted, the US economy could be pushed back into recession.
“The IMF also underscores the need for US policymakers to achieve credible medium term fiscal consolidation while still supporting growth,” the Treasurer said.
by Alan Thornhill
The Federal government is extending its paid parental leave scheme to fathers and same sex partners.
The Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin says that from January 1 next year the scheme will give “eligible dads and same-sex partners two weeks paid leave at the rate of the national minimum wage “
That is currently about $606 a week before tax.
“Australian mums love our Paid Parental Leave Scheme,” Ms Macklin said.
“More than 200,000 parents have applied since it began,” she added.
“The new Dad and Partner Pay will help dads take more time off in those critical early months to bond with their baby and help mums right from the start,” Ms Macklin said.
So who stands to benefit?
To be eligible, dads or partners must:
- have worked at least 330 hours (just over one day a week) in 10 of the 13 months before the start of their Dad and Partner Pay period, with no more than an eight-week gap between two consecutive working days;
- have earned $150,000 or less in the previous financial year; and
- be on unpaid leave or not working and be helping to care for the child during their two weeks of Dad and Partner Pay.
Fathers can be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay even if their partner is not receiving Paid Parental Leave.
Call 13 61 50 for more.
by Alan Thornhill
Australia’s Net Overseas Migration has reached its highest point in two years.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that Australia gained 197,200 people, through net migration, in the 12 months to the end of March.
That was 18 per cent above the net intake over the previous 12 months.
Australia’s population increased by 331,200, over the same time, to 22.6 million.
That represented a national growth rate of 1.5 per cent for the year.
However, Western Australia’s population growth rate – over the same time –was more than double the national figure, at 3.1 per cent.
Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill
A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.
Available now on the iTunes store.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
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