The main road out of poverty for individuals, families and communities is through employment and a successful economy is the key driver of prosperity.
Yet economic growth in many countries in the last 30 years has been accompanied by rising inequalities which are neither efficient nor sustainable, and which threaten to weaken continued growth. The income and wealth gap between rich and poor is widening, and too many Australians are being left behind.
The goal of inclusive growth addresses the linked concerns of boosting sustainable economic growth and reducing inequality. Social issues such as poverty and inequality cannot be separated from the issue of economic growth. One the one hand, strong social foundations – including an effective welfare system, a vigorous civil society, robust educational institutions and accountable government – are essential to a strong modern economy as well as to people’s wellbeing. On the other hand, economic growth underpins them.
Policies that encourage inclusive growth will help make Australia a fairer society, in which more of us can participate fully in social and economic life, creating and sharing prosperity.
Right now, the key question is what kind of Australia do we want in the future? The answer should shape the policy choices which are made now. The Brotherhood of St Laurence believes in investing in human capital and integrating social and economic policy as defining features of an Australian approach to inclusive growth. To encourage fresh policy thinking, we are launching a program of research and policy development to frame a New Social Contract for Australia.
Our work on a new social contract for the period to 2020 will set out a vision in which growth and inclusion go hand in hand. We will develop policy ‘offers’ for children, youth, and retired and older Australians. These new social contract offers will present proposals for managing the new risks and challenges posed by changing, longer lives and profound social evolution.
Jeannie Zakharov 2012, Towards inclusive growth in Australia: report arising from Inclusive Growth in Australia roundtable (PDF file, 168 KB)
P Smyth, Inclusive growth and Australian social policy presentation (PDF file, 66 KB)
F Azpitarte, Has economic growth in Australia been good for the poor? And what happens to the socially excluded? draft paper (PDF file, 341 KB)
S Biggs, Inclusive growth and adult ageing presentation (PDF file, 730 KB)
H Buddelmeyer, The role of education for inclusion and growth presentation (PDF file, 407 KB)