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Chalmers unveils ambitious modernisation agenda for Australian economy

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Treasurer Chalmers has laid out a sweeping vision for Australia’s economic future, stressing the critical need for a comprehensive modernisation effort.

In a media interview over the weekend, Treasurer Jim Chalmers recognised a lost decade in economic reform, and emphasised the imperative to transform and revitalise the nation’s economic foundations to seize new opportunities.

From human capital development to energy generation, industrial innovation, and financial markets, the Treasurer outlined a multifaceted approach to usher Australia into a modern era.

“If you think about what unites everything that we’re trying to do, we’re trying to modernise the economy so that we can maximise our national advantages in a way that delivers for middle Australia,” the Treasurer said.

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Mr Chalmers underlined the need for a paradigm shift, acknowledging that the economic formula that fuelled past prosperity may no longer suffice.

The Treasurer identified key areas of focus, including the modernisation of migration settings, skills training, and education systems. He noted immense potential in adapting to the energy transformation, adopting technology, and optimising superannuation and capital flows.

“Really right across the board, there’s an opportunity for us to modernise and renew and revitalise and make more forward and future focused the key parts of our economy,” Mr Chalmers said.

“We’ve got these huge advantages that we need to make the most of, but in order to do that, our economy’s got to be more modern.”

The proposed overhaul appears to extend to the very fabric of Australia’s economic institutions, signalling a commitment to reshaping policies and structures.

Despite the scale of the job, Mr Chalmers stressed that embracing modernisation across the board will not only unlock opportunities but also elevate living standards for middle Australia.

Looking forward, the Treasurer acknowledged that 2024 will remain volatile, and flagged cost-of-living ease in the next budget.

There will be an element of difficulty in the global economy in 2024, obviously, inflation will still be higher than we’d like but it will be moderating. We’re getting wages growing again, real wages are expected to move again and that’s a good thing.

“But the pressures that people have felt in 2023 won’t miraculously disappear on 1 January 2024 and that’s why we are so focused on rolling out this cost‑of‑living help, getting the budget in better nick and building the kind of economy that lifts living standards into the future.”

Australia’s GDP grew by 0.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2023, according to the national accounts released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this month.

This was below market expectations for 0.5 per cent growth over the quarter and down from 0.4 per cent growth in Q2 2023. GDP rose by 2.1 per cent over the year, above expectations of 1.8 per cent growth, in part due to upward revisions for Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.

Chalmers unveils ambitious modernisation agenda for Australian economy

Treasurer Chalmers has laid out a sweeping vision for Australia’s economic future, stressing the critical need for a comprehensive modernisation effort.

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.

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