Australian Government 1 year progress report
The Government’s One Year Progress Report was released today, providing an extensive list of the Government’s achievements to date across a broad range of policy areas. The Report is a useful resource for following the Government’s progress on both global and domestic challenges, and also provides a guide to upcoming policy milestones.
The Report draws attention to the Government’s achievements in key policy areas including:
The full report is available here:
Some of the Government’s key achievements include:
- Withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq.
- Maintaining Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan.
- Increased funding for the Australian Defence Force by 3 per cent each year in real terms for a decade.
- Increasing Australian Federal Police officers by 500.
- Ending the Pacific Solution (closing the offshore detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea).
- Enhanced national security coordination through the new Office of National Security.
Responsible economic management, particularly in the context of the global financial crisis
- Protecting Australia’s financial market stability during the global financial crisis.
- Implementing the $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy.
- Strengthening and supporting Australian regulators to improve the adequacy of supply and liquidity of Treasury Bond and Treasury Bond futures markets.
Significant economic reform
- Tax cuts in the last Budget for working families and low income earners.
- Opening up new export markets through the Doha Round of trade negotiations and through the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements with Chile, South East Asia and New Zealand.
- Introducing reforms to establish a seamless national economy.
Boosting economic prosperity –infrastructure
- Established Infrastructure Australia.
- In the process of establishing the $26 billion Building Australia Funds (currently before the Parliament).
Boosting economic prosperity –education revolution and workplace productivity
- $2.5 billion Trades Training Centres in Schools program –34 successful projects involving 96 high schools announced. Second funding round underway.
- Securing the commitment of States and Territories to establish a single national school curriculum.
- Installing 116,820 new computers for 896 schools.
- Establishing a 50 per cent tax refund for educational expenses.
- Investing $2 billion to provide more than 700,000 new training places in the Vocational Training and Education sector over five years.
Investing in industries of the future
- Introduced the $6.2 billion New Car Plan for a Greener Future.
Industrial relations reform
- Abolishing the previous Government’s WorkChoices program (details of the legislation will be announced 25 November 2008).
Addressing cost of living pressures
- Increasing the first home owners grant to $14,000 for existing homes and $21,000 for new homes and establishing the First Home Owner Saver Account.
- Establishing the $512 million Housing Affordability Fund.
- Establishing the National Housing Supply Council.
- Implementing the $622.7 million National Rental Affordability Scheme.
- Increasing the Utilities Allowance to $514 a year and extending it to carers and people with a disability.
- Delivering lump sum payments to pensioners, carers, veterans and people with a disability of $1,400 to singles and $2,100 to couples.
Broadening social inclusion
- Establishing the Australian Social Inclusion Board.
- Investing $150 million to create 600 new dwellings for people who are homeless.
Closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage
- Saying Sorry to Indigenous Australians on behalf of the Australian Parliament.
- Funding for 50 additional teachers and the construction of additional classrooms in the Northern Territory.
Health, ageing and hospitals
- Establishing over 1000 new training places for nurses in universities and providing incentives for nurses who are out of the workforce to return to work.
- Providing the McGrath Foundation with $12 million over four years to recruit, train and employ up to 30 specialist breast cancer nurses, mostly in rural and regional areas.
- Providing $1 billion to the States and Territories to relieve the pressure on public hospitals.
- Investing $150 million to increase the number of elective surgery procedures.
- Commissioning 31 GP Superclinics to be established by 2011.
- 2,608 schools signed up for the $480.6 million National Solar Schools program.
- Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.
- Developing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to commence in 2010.
- Promoting energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy and other low emission technologies.
- Implementing the $12.9 billion Water for the Future Program including the purchase of water entitlements by the Federal Government to restore health to the Murray-Darling System.
- Funding desalination, water recycling and stormwater harvesting projects.
Protecting the natural environment and heritage
- Deploying an Australian Customs vessel to track Japanese whalers and gather evidence for possible international legal action against Japan in the international courts.
Community and local government engagement
- Holding the Australia 2020 Summit.
- Establishing the Council of Australian Local Governments.
A modern federation and constitutional reform
- Introducing reforms to modernise and improve government with new codes of conduct for ministers, ministerial staff and lobbyists, an electoral reform program and controls on government advertising
Upcoming policy events
The report also draws attention to a number of upcoming policy events, indicating some of the issues that are likely to be on the Government’s agenda for its second year in office. Upcoming policy issues of interest include:
- The new National Health Care Agreement that will be signed in 2008.
- New Industrial Relations legislation that will be introduced in 2008.
- The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme final design that is due to be completed by the end of 2008.
- The development of national Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
- New thinking for the Asia-Pacific region following discussions at the APEC Leaders’ Summit in Peru and the East Asia Summit in Thailand in December 2008.
- A National Security Statement articulating the strategic rationale for security, defence and related agencies.
- The Defence White Paper that is to be released in 2009.
- The Energy Security White Paper that is to be released in 2009.
- Longer term tax reform following the Review of the Tax and Transfer Systems (due at the end of 2009).
- Development of the National Broadband Network.
- Development of a National Curriculum for English, mathematics, science and history.
- The Homelessness White Paper that is due ‘in the near future’.
- The Quarantine and Biosecurity Review that is currently underway.
- The Productivity Commission Final Report on supporting parents with new children that is due in February 2009.
- Development of the National Disability Reform agenda, a $1.3 billion funding agreement with the states and territories and a $293 million better support package for carers of children with a disability.
- Public submissions providing input for the 2009-10 Budget are due on 16 January 2009. For further details view the Treasurer’s media release here.