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Paris Group’s Future Check On Australian Economy …

  • November 15th, 2010
  • Posted by 7thmin

oecd-logo.jpegDebate over the OECD economic survey of Australia for 2010 has concentrated on its positive judgment of the stimulus response to world recession, and proposed initiatives: the mining tax, climate change responses and the National Broadband Network.

The Paris-based organisation producing research on the leading industrial economies declared Australia had “weathered the world recession well”, though it warned about the potential for higher inflation and modest spare capacity for dealing with future economic stress.

See also, EUAustralia Online, “OECD: Shift in economic power”, 25.6.10; “Tough times at the G20”, 2.4.09.

It had reservations about the taxation agreement made between the Labor government and principal mining companies in the lead-up to the recent Australian elections, saying the rate of tax could be set higher, and the proceeds not entirely spent, as intended, but also held against future need  — “to shield the budget and the real economy from the expected volatility of commodity price movements.”

A carbon price for Australia was endorsed among global moves to contain impacts of climate change, the OECD assessors not taking sides over any particular mechanism, such as an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax.

References in the report to the National Broadband Network being brought forward as a major future infrastructure project of government were seized on in debates in the federal parliament.

Flexible in outlook, the OECD identified strong advantages in developing that national communications project now, while harkening back to “market” doctrine on the question of the government owning it.

The Opposition Communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, said it had given a plain warning that the scheme could harm competition and hinder innovation by creating a government monopoly.

A statement from the Minister, Stephen Conroy, said the report was actually supportive:

“The OECD concludes that the NBN … will improve internet services for the entire population and promote a fairer competition between private firms on retail services.”

The Minister said present digital services were slow and more expensive than in most of the OECD, with Australia ranked 17th out of the 31 countries for fixed broadband subscribers.

Reference

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris, “Economic Survey of Australia 2010”, 14.11.10. http://www.oecd.org/document/37/0,3343,en_2649_33733_46255013_1_1_1_1,00.html, (15.11.10).

OECD, Paris, Australia (Country Statistics).http://www.smh.com.au/business/gst-and-mining-tax-too-low-says-oecd-report-20101114-17spc.html, (15.11.10).

David Ramli, “Conroy: OECD report supports NBN”, ARN, Sydney, 15.11.10.http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/368018/conroy_oecd_report_supports_nbn/,(15.11.10)

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