English, PDF, 437kb
Australia has the 8th lowest tax wedge among the 34 OECD member countries in 2015. The country had the 7th lowest position in 2014. The average single worker in Australia faced a tax wedge of 28.4% in 2015 compared with the OECD average of 35.9%.
Job displacement (involuntary job loss due to firm closure or downsizing) affects many workers over their lifetime. Displaced workers may face long periods of unemployment and, even when they find new jobs, tend to be paid less and have fewer benefits than in their prior jobs. Helping them get back into good jobs quickly should be a key goal of labour market policy. This report is the fourth in a series of reports looking at how this challenge is being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It shows that many displaced workers get new jobs relatively quickly in Australia, mostly thanks to a flexible and dynamic labour market. A small minority of displaced workers receive special support via the labour adjustment programmes, but some displaced workers who would need specific assistance, in particular in the older worker and/or low-educated groups, do not get sufficient support or only too late. There is room to improve policies by moving away from the current sectoral approach to special assistance programmes for workers collectively dismissed, towards an approach covering all sectors of the economy, with the intensity of intervention tailored to the circumstances and needs of the displaced workers. Expanding the training component for displaced workers and making use of skills assessment and training to better target the training and enhance its effectiveness would also help displaced workers transition to sustainable jobs of a certain quality.
English, PDF, 326kb
In Australia, there are two main categories for nurses: Enrolled Nurses (EN) (who, after an additional 6 months of studies, can become Endorsed Enrolled Nurses (EEN)) and Registered Nurses (RN). Graduates from RN programmes can pursue further education and training to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) or Nurse Practitioners (NP).
English, PDF, 274kb
In 2012, 20% of students in Australia were low performers in mathematics (OECD average: 23%), 14% were low performers in reading (OECD average: 18%), 14% were low performers in science (OECD average: 18%), and 9% were low performers in all three of these subjects (OECD average: 12%)
Tackling mental ill-health of the working-age population is a key issue for labour market and social policies in OECD countries. OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in keeping people with mental ill-health in employment or bringing those outside of the labour market back to it, and in preventing mental illness. This report on Australia is the ninth and last in a series of reports looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It concludes that policy thinking in Australia shows well-advanced awareness both of the costs of mental illness for society as a whole and of the health benefits of employment. However, challenges remain in: making employment issues a concern of the health care services; helping young people succees in their future working lives; making the workplace a safe, supportive psychosocial environment; and better designing and targeting employment services for jobseekers with mental ill-health.
The 2015 edition introduces more detailed analysis of participation in early childhood and tertiary levels of education. The report also examines first generation tertiary-educated adults’ educational and social mobility, labour market outcomes for recent graduates, and participation in employer-sponsored formal and/or non-formal education.
Australia’s health system functions remarkably well, despite operating under a complex set of institutions that make coordinating patient care difficult. Complications arising from a split in federal and state government funding and responsibilities are central to these challenges. This fragmented health care system can disrupt the continuity of patient care, lead to a duplication of services and leave gaps in care provision. Supervision of these health services by different levels of government can manifest in avoidable impediments such as the poor transfer of health information, and pose difficulties for patients navigating the health system. Adding to the Australian system’s complexity is a mix of services delivered through both the public and private sectors. To ease health system fragmentation and promote more integrated services, Australia should adopt a national approach to quality and performance through an enhanced federal government role in steering policy, funding and priority setting. The states, in turn, should take on a strengthened role as health service providers, with responsibility for primary care devolved to the states to better align it with hospital services and community care. A more strategic role for the centre should also leave room for the strategic development of health services at the regional level, encouraging innovation that is responsive to local population need, particularly in rural and remote areas.
English, PDF, 340kb
Australia performs well in terms of overall population health status. At 82.2 years, life expectancy is the sixth highest in the OECD, and the country’s record on breast and colorectal cancer survival is among the best. Australia has one of the lowest rates of tobacco consumption (12.8% of the population aged 15 and over), but it is the fifth most obese country in the OECD (28.3% of the population aged 15 and over).
Australia’s agriculture and food industries are well placed to contribute to the economy’s future growth given the robust prospects of global food demand and the continuing high international competitiveness of these sectors. There are, however, important challenges that call for new ways to exploit agricultural resources and human capital. The decade-long decline in agricultural productivity growth needs to be overcome, coupled with the need to accommodate uncertainties about the impacts of climate change and to respond to societal demands in the areas of sustainable development and animal welfare. The agro-food sector also needs to absorb exchange-rate and cost pressures created by the mining boom. To tap additional opportunities of the higher value food segments, Australian agri-businesses need new knowledge and capabilities to seize demand signals and value opportunities, particularly from more affluent consumers in Asian markets.
Specific country notes have been prepared using data from the database OECD Health Statistics 2015, July 2015 version. The notes are available in PDF format.