ECONOMICS

The Greens (WA) believe that:

  • our economy exists to support and enhance the sustainability and prosperity of the current generation, without compromising that of coming generations
  • many Western Australians are missing out on opportunities and quality of life; and that a strong economy should provide for all
  • Western Australia needs a new model of economic growth and prosperity that does not rely on unsustainable impacts on the environment and our communities

Aims
The Greens (WA) want:

  • all economic and fiscal policies to be consistent with increased social and intergenerational equity
  • a transition, within this generation, to a low-carbon economy based on renewable energy and energy efficiency (see also The Greens (WA) Climate Change & Energy policy)
  • an equitable and progressive distribution of the costs of reducing greenhouse emissions and adapting to climate change
  • an industry policy that diversifies the Western Australian economy, promotes resource stewardship and reduces our dependence on low-value bulk commodity exports
  • an employment and workplace relations framework that promotes job security and satisfaction, social equity and a safe workplace (see also The Greens (WA) Workplace Relations policy)
  • the reform of local-state-commonwealth relations to clarify responsibilities and reduce duplication, cost shifting and over-regulation
  • prioritisation of economic relocalisation initiatives and support for small business and co-operatives in order to build resilience in the economy
  • reporting based on genuine progress indicators that account for resource depletion
  • a socially just and economically efficient tax and revenue system

Measures
The Greens (WA) will encourage and support legislation and actions that:

Social and Intergenerational equity

  • recognise the principle of intragenerational and intergenerational equity in making decisions on state debt, infrastructure investment, and the tax and transfer system
  • assess all State government taxes, charges and subsidies to identify their impact on social equity and prosperity, in order to phase out perverse wealth transfers
  • ensure all forms of State government assistance are targeted to prioritise low income families and other vulnerable groups
  • require a detailed employment diversity policy included in Directors’ reports

Transition to a Low Carbon Economy (see also The Greens (WA) Climate Change & Energy policy)

  • coordinate incentives and direct investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation measures
  • target industry assistance to reduce local vulnerabilities to economic dislocation
  • prioritise household assistance policies to those most in need

Diversified Industry Policy

  • support the development of a Industry Transition Policy (ITP) to prioritise strategic industry sectors requiring research and development, direct investment, financial guarantees or workforce development
  • develop industry policy that prioritises support for high employing, high skilled, value adding industries
  • ensure collaboration between government, industry and academia to identify and address skill shortages and infrastructure requirements to give effect to industry policy
  • redirect subsidies and other state support away from low-value added extractive industries (see also The Greens (WA) Mining policy)
  • subject industry assistance programs to a rigorous and timely assessment process with provision for public submissions and scrutiny by Parliament prior to making binding commitments
  • require the Auditor General to regularly audit the performance of industry assistance programs and State Agreement Acts
  • provide government support for increasing basic and independent research and development within industry sectors, with a focus on those which support sustainable use of resources
  • ensure a speedy transition to resource stewardship and closed-loop economics

Employment, Security and Diversity  (see also The Greens (WA) Workplace Relations policy)

  • align Western Australian workplace training and workforce development priorities with the proposed Industry Transition Policy
  • simplify Western Australia's Workplace Agreement and Award system to allow more streamlined operations for small business
  • work with vulnerable populations and sectors to provide skills training and other structural support
  • reduce the casualisation of the workforce

Local-State-Federal Relations

  • ensure an independent public review of Commonwealth, State and local government service provision functions and revenue-raising powers (see also The Greens (WA) Local Government Policy)
  • reform the Commonwealth Grants Commission to provide for greater simplicity, predictability and transparency, and a floor for the return of GST receipts to reduce volatility in state revenues
  • expand the ratebase of local governments, including projects under State Agreement Acts, to allow greater local provision of services,
  • encourage the development and resourcing of regional councils
  • support a constitutional amendment to provide for direct Commonwealth funding of local governments
  • develop a Commonwealth-State agreement on national processes for industry assistance to limit unproductive competition between States
  • harmonise business regulation through COAG to best practice standards.

Localisation, Small Business and Economic Resilience

  • consult regularly with small business, including convening a Small Business Summit to identify ways to streamline legislation and remove unnecessary regulation
  • simplify State imposed taxation systems to simplify the administrative overhead for small business operators
  • reform trading hours regulations to improve economic and social viability for small traders
  • provide affordable small business management skills courses and advisory services, including business incubators
  • increase research and development incentives to business
  • support social enterprises including cooperatives, producers markets, local currencies, schemes to share vehicles and equipment, and enterprises providing supported employment for those disadvantaged in the labour market
  • plan reforms to introduce more accessible, mixed-use higher density activity centres to distribute services and employment opportunities through large urban areas

Indicators and Reporting

  • substitute a broadly based Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)1 per capita for the cash transaction based Gross State Product (GSP)2 as the standard measure of economic performance, for reporting in all state budgets
  • ensure that the Australian Bureau of Statistics assess and report GPI and GDP
  • encourage all business over a certain size to report against genuine progress indicators
  • commercial recipients of State contracts above a certain value adopt genuine progress reporting obligations
  • develop a public resource accounting system that assesses resource depletion

Tax Policy

  • introduce a simpler, more progressive tax system resistant to evasion and with low compliance costs, to provide a secure revenue base for each level of government
  • reform inefficient, regressive taxes including payroll and stamp duties, to be replaced with a carefully phased in expansion of land tax and other progressive taxes
  • convene a State Tax Summit to assess and prioritise proposals for State tax reforms, including those proposed in the Henry Tax Review
  • establish a State Sovereign Wealth Fund3

(See also the Australian Greens Economics policy)

Glossary

  1. GPI - measures whether or not a country's growth, increased production of goods, and expanding services have actually resulted in the improvement of the welfare of the people. A GPI can more reliably measure economic progress, as it distinguishes between healthy growth and maladaptive growth.
  2. GSP - the total market value of all final goods and services produced within a state, usually over a calendar year.
  3. Sovereign Wealth Fund - a state-owned investment fund that puts aside windfall gains from economically prosperous times so that they may be spent when finite natural resource-based industries are less profitable.  It should be noted that the Greens in Parliament cautiously supported the State Government's "WA Future Fund", a type of sovereign wealth fund.
Authorised by Lynn MacLaren © 2017

Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC - Member for South Metropolitan Region Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia