Established in 2014, the Melbourne Economic Forum brings together economic policy thinkers from the University of Melbourne and Victoria University, and public and private institutions including the Productivity Commission, the Grattan Institute and the Mitchell Institute, in discussion and debate to encourage sound government policy making.
Australia has a strong tradition of public discussion of economic policy based on rigorous economic analysis. Dedication to rigour has been important in informing policy making for reforms to improve national economic performance and living standards. But that tradition has been broken. Economic debate in the national interest has been supplanted by special pleading on behalf of private interests.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Australia faced big challenges from weak productivity growth, a difficult global economic environment and an ageing population. The pandemic has compounded those problems and added more.
We will need sound and effective economic reforms to achieve job creation and rising prosperity in a global economy battered by a deep recession and weakened by geopolitical rivalry. The high standards of living to which we have grown accustomed can only be sustained and improved by finding more productive ways of running the economy, securing incomes for working people, promoting equity in income distribution, and providing basic services to the Australian people.
The Melbourne Economic Forum is co-convened by Professor James Giesecke (Director, Centre of Policy Studies, Victoria University) and Professor A. Abigail Payne (Director and Ronald Henderson Professor, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research).