02.02.20222022 Federal Election – The issues that will shape Melbourne and Australia’s future

Australians will head to the polls by the end of May to elect members to the 47th Parliament of Australia.

The Coalition Government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is aiming to win a fourth consecutive term in office, while the Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, will challenge the incumbent government.

The contest is heating up with both major parties in full campaign mode; studying every electorate and attempting to plot a pathway to victory.

With the international border closed for almost two years, soaring debt, geopolitical challenges and a warming climate, the next government must chart a path forward that will be as challenging as it is uncertain.

The Committee remains focussed on the strategic challenges facing Melbourne and we call on the next Federal Government to show leadership on the following issues.

COVID-19: For Melbourne to resemble its pre-pandemic environment, the next Federal Government could prioritise:

  • The efficient and timely rollout of vaccinations for children, as well as booster vaccines for adults.
  • Ensuring ease of entry to Australia to encourage the flow of visitors, skilled workers and students.
  • Partnering with charitable organisations committed to aiding people and communities impacted by the pandemic and climate-related disasters.

Climate change: A more ambitious national emission reduction target to 2030, accompanied by strong emissions reduction policies and initiatives, will help address the impacts of climate change and position the country for green economic opportunities.

Policies that support clean manufacturing and a renewable energy export industry in Melbourne world facilitate job creation and economic growth.

Housing: Increasing the supply of social and affordable housing across Melbourne should be prioritised, with a healthy stock needed to help the city remain inclusive, diverse and prosperous.

A comprehensive, national strategy to support the supply of social and affordable housing would address issues of taxation, finance, regulation, densification and related matters. State and local government cooperation would be vital.

Skills: An advanced skills base comprising local and foreign talent will help Melbourne recover from the pandemic and realise opportunities in the new economy.

Melbourne and Australia must continue to nurture human capital that can navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We must also look to position ourselves well in the minds of prospective foreign students and workers,and ensure our skilled migration program is responsive to the needs of business. Investment in advanced skills training packages (e.g. digital) and micro credentials are essential to build local capacity.

Infrastructure: Continued investment in infrastructure will underpin a productive economy and healthy community as we recover from COVID-19. But successful delivery hinges on sufficient supply of skills and materials, and active industry participation.

The Committee has called on the Victorian Government to design and publish an integrated transport plan and would welcome Federal Government support. Such a plan would identify investment-worthy projects, define expected timeframes for construction and justify project sequencing. Such an initiative would provide greater certainty for the private sector and ensure plentiful supply of skills and materials.

In December last year, the Committee hosted a forum with Nick Maher, Steve Lewis and Benjamin Wegner from SEC Newgate, who provided our members with insights and analysis of the issues shaping the election. Three bellwether issues to have emerged are the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, as well as climate change and China:

  • Peoples’ experience of the pandemic is anticipated to shape their electoral behaviour. Though with the experience endured differently and unevenly across Australia, it remains unclear how Australians will view the handling of the pandemic and which party is best placed to lead us from this crisis.
  • Recent record temperatures, along with devastating bushfires, floods and droughts, has climate change top of mind for many Australian voters. Both major parties will attempt to assure voters of their climate credentials.
  • China has increased pressure on Australia through trade coercion and regional aggression abroad. Both parties will need to convince voters that they can successfully manage this sensitive relationship and keep Australia and its interests secure.

To watch the event, click here.

For more information on the Committee’s policy agenda, contact Leanne Edwards, Director Policy & Research at ledwards@melbourne.org.au or Brett Van Duppen, Senior Policy and Research Officer at bvanduppen@melbourne.org.au

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