The Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) has arranged an upcoming livestream on Productivity Reform in Australia and NZ, scheduled for 24 November, with some well known Australian and NZ economists, econo-crats, and pundits. According to the program we’ll hear from, among others, Gary Banks on “Not wasting a crisis” and from Bob Gregory on “Key policy adjustments in a post COVID-19 world”. I’ve already registered and am looking forward to the discussion. It will be tough for the QPC to keep people engaged for a seven hour livestream, but it looks like they have some great presenters and it’s an important topic.
Many economists have seen the desirability of policy changes to improve productivity for some time. Recall that productivity is one of the three Ps, along with workforce participation and population, that determine GDP. Australia had a burst of productivity in the 1990s – due to widespread ICT adoption and to National Competition Policy measures and corporatisation or privatisation of public enterprises – but since then Australia’s productivity performance has been generally considered as disappointing (see chart below).