SMH Opinion: The price of progress

by ericknight

Treasury boss Martin Parkinson last week returned productivity to center stage of the political discussion in this country. At the dinner speech to the Growth Challenge conference in Melbourne, he argued that Australia’s terms of trade would “come off slowly” as the mining boom matured.

That means growth in living standards will slow over time unless we turn our minds to driving productivity improvements across the economy. There is an obvious place to look – telecommunications infrastructure – which is why it is so astonishing that the recent NBN deal with Telstra and Optus has received so little coverage.

There are political motives at play with the poor coverage. Some saw it as a Government smokescreen for the one year anniversary of The Deposal. Others believe the rural crossbenchers will buy it, no matter what the price. The most likely reason is probably internal workings within the Opposition. Rumor has it that Tony Abbott is keeping Malcolm Turnbull on a tight leash. It’s a strange strategy to adopt. Unless the Opposition can tackle the productivity agenda, their chances at the next election are significantly diminished.

This all raises an obvious question: what should we make of the National Broadband Network? For my thoughts on the subject published in today’s SMH click here.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: