This report on the recent Australian experience with activation policies contains valuable lessons for other countries that need to improve the effectiveness of employment services and control benefit expenditure. It provides overview and assessment of labour market policies in Australia including the main institutions, benefit system, training programmes, employment incentives, and disability employment assistance.
Australia is unique among OECD countries in that its mainstream employment services are all delivered by over 100 for-profit and non-profit providers competing in a “quasi-market”, with their operations financed by service fees, employment outcome payments, and a special fund for measures that tackle jobseekers’ barriers to employment. In most other OECD countries, these services are delivered by the Public Employment Service. In the mid 2000s, several benefits previously paid without a job-search requirement were closed or reformed, bringing more people into the effective labour force.
Australia now has one of the highest employment rates in the OECD and this report concludes that its activation system deserves some of the credit for this relatively good performance. The Job Services Australia model, introduced in 2009, reinforced the focus on employment outcomes for highly-disadvantaged groups. This report assesses the latest model for activation and puts forward some recommendations to improve its effectiveness.
The energy sector is a significant contributor to the Australian economy. Exports have more than tripled over the past decade and surging economic and social expansion in relatively nearby emerging economies such as China and India has driven significant demand for Australian energy and mineral resources. This boom is widely forecast to continue in the coming decades.
Late in 2011, the Australian government released a draft energy white paper, which sets out a comprehensive strategic policy framework to guide the development of the energy sector. Also in 2011, the Australian government announced a climate change plan including a wide-ranging package of clean-energy proposals and the introduction of a carbon price mechanism accompanied by significant levels of financial support for innovation in clean-energy technologies.
The scale of Australia’s energy policy ambitions is enormous and very costly even for a resource-rich nation. Significant investments will be needed for the clean-energy transition and building the infrastructure necessary to expand the domestic resource base. This review analyses the energy-policy challenges facing Australia and provides critiques and recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to help guide the country towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.
Australia’s enforcement of its foreign bribery laws has been extremely low, with just a single case leading to prosecutions out of 28 referrals in 13 years. Cases may have been closed prematurely. Australia must vigorously pursue foreign bribery allegations.
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Australia’s education system achieves good outcomes overall - attainment of upper secondary education by adults aged 25 to 34 was 85% in 2010, above the OECD average of 82%
Skills and educational development for inclusive and sustainable growth are becoming significant drivers in OECD countries.
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Australia’s labour market continues to perform well in comparison with other major developed countries. The unemployment rate, at 5.1% in May 2012, is among the lowest in the OECD.
The objective of senior budget official country reviews is to provide a comprehensive overview of the budget process in the country under examination, to evaluate national experiences in the light of international best practice and to provide specific policy recommendations.
How can government policies move towards increasing agricultural innovation and improving productivity? This OECD conference shared case studies and ideas from Europe, China, United States, India, Africa, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
Governments should invest more in disadvantaged schools and students to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance, according to a new OECD report.
This report summarises the analysis, findings and policy recommendations from the project on Climate Change, Employment and Local Development undertaken by the OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme.