Australia: Building a virtuous circle

©Australian Government

The Australian government is seeking to develop a social coalition of families, communities, non-government organisations, business and government to help build and support strong, resilient families. The government’s role is twofold–it pursues policies for a strong economy, and social policies to support individuals, families and communities to fulfil their aspirations and deal with difficulties.

Australia’s recent strong economic performance and budget surpluses mean we have the ability to give back to families a higher social dividend in the form of better funded and better quality healthcare, education and family assistance.

Australia is well placed to meet the challenges of its ageing society. Its retirement income system is built around compulsory savings through employer contributions to superannuation, voluntary superannuation contributions (supported by generous taxation concessions, and by government co-contributions for low earners) and other private savings. This is underpinned by a publicly funded, means-tested Age Pension for those in need.

We are committed to developing policies that help parents balance their work and family responsibilities. We have committed to introducing a Family Impact Statement, whereby ministers take account of the impacts of new proposals on families. We are responding to relationship breakdowns by supporting families with programmes that help couples learn a range of skills to assist them to work through difficult times.

Our National Agenda for Early Childhood provides a framework to improve the integration of support services in areas such as health, early learning and care, and creating child-friendly communities. We offer choice and opportunity to families who face different challenges at different times in their family life-cycle, for example, by providing family payments for both working and home-based parents, high quality and affordable childcare, and support to carers of the elderly and disabled.

We pursue a strong economy because of the benefits that flow to individuals, families, and communities. Appropriate social infrastructure in turn facilitates economic activity and prosperity. A virtuous circle is established.

See also replies by five other OECD ministers: Netherlands' minister for social affairs and employment and chair of the 2005 OECD social affairs meeting, Aart Jan de Geus, Germany’s federal minister for health and social security, Ulla Schmidt, Korea’s Geun Tae Kim, minister for health and welfare and co-chair of the 2005 meeting, Sweden’s minister for social affairs, Berit Andnor, who is also co-chairing, and from the US, Wade F. Horn, who is assistant secretary for children and families at the DHHS.

©OECD Observer No 248, March 2005




Economic data

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa. blogs.worldbank.org
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017