Reforms need consultation and cabinet rigour, not budget secrecy


Catherine Livingstone

Across the three Ps, Australia’s lack of nuance, granularity and context in policy design are letting us down. Without greater consultation and conversation with the community, reforms will continue to be rejected at both the political and community level.

It is time we decouple the process of major policy change from the federal Budget process, and addressed it through the rigour of cabinet analysis and debate, together with community consultation.

This is in no way intended to diminish the urgent need for the growth in expenditure to be reined in, but policy reform, tackled only through the lens of the budget process, is failing the community.

The Intergenerational Report tells us we need a new plan for the country, not just a process to improve our fiscal position. Unfortunately, while the IGR presented us with the challenges of expenditure, it did not confront the context for change — the extraordinary disruption that is now upon us.

As a soon-to-be-released publication from McKinsey states, this is no ordinary disruption. We have reached the point where a confluence of trends, digital disruption, shifts in the locus of economic power, globalisation and demographic change — each of which on their own would rank among the strongest economic forces the global economy has ever seen, are casting our world into a completely different reality.

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